I am very much enjoying this Canadian series of novels, which combine a light touch in the writing style with somewhat hard-hitting and deeply emotional themes. The first three books introduced Jo and her circle of friends and political associates. Here, however, the mood shifts as Jo has to decide whether to confront the few-years-ago death of her husband, Ian, or whether to continue carrying on her life having put it behind her.
Jo discovers that Tarpley had found God before he died and has sent her some biblical texts. Reluctantly, therefore, Jo decides to find out the details of how Ian died, and to talk to the half-dozen friends who were present at the fund-raising party he attended on the fatal night, in an attempt both to achieve closure and to clear her name. In the end, the questions about how Ian died are resolved, but I was left puzzled as to who was responsible for the two present-day crimes though a solution can be inferred, there are questions left hanging.
Read another review of it at: Reactions to Reading.
Posts about Gail Bowen, including reviews of some later books in the series, at: Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan. Madeline Dare comes from an old-money family, money that is so old that there is none left, as she puts it.
Her parents divorced when she was young, so she was bought up in California, then New York. Dean is obsessed with his plans to create an automatic method of grinding rail tracks, so is almost always away. Madeline is bored out of her mind, her only real distraction being a part-time job at the local newspaper, writing humorous foodie columns. This is a book that is replete with local colour and observations of the American way of life. Dean comes from a family of farmers, so the reader is treated to descriptions of the contrasting lifestyles of the hardworking, redneck, uncultured in-laws, with the brittle world of the socially superior yet largely empty-headed relatives of Madeline.
The site is where two young women were murdered 19 years ago, in The murderer was never found. Madeline is shocked to see that the dogtags belong to her favourite cousin Lapthorne, on whom she had a teenage crush, from around the time he was drafted to Vietnam. She spends an inordinate amount of time missing Dean, who is rather a colourless, if handsome, character. This repetitive theme becomes a tiresome aspect of the book. Half way through the book, Madeline comes across some evidence that exonerates her cousin, so she goes public with her intention to solve the crime.
This decision rapidly stimulates some nasty events which hastily lead to a conclusion that echoes the opening page of the novel. The main pleasures of A Field of Darkness are its detailed, well-written portrait of Syracuse, a decaying community; and the character of Madeline, who is both distinctive and who has an interesting selection of friends and relatives whom we come to meet during the book.
As a crime novel, the pace is too slow and there is a dearth of suspects, even though the ending is quite chilling.
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- T. P. O'Connor. "My Beloved South".
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DI Ray McBain of the Glasgow police and his team are celebrating the successful outcome of a murder case: before a day has passed, however, another murder is committed and the team swings into action again. An elderly man has been killed by someone who has inflicted wounds similar to the stigmata on his or her victim. Tasks are divided up, and McBain with his young colleague Alessandra Rossi go to a Catholic care home where the victim worked as a caretaker.
Wandering Dagger (The Cal OConnor Series Book 2)
It turns out that McBain himself grew up in the home and that he suffered cruelty and abuse while there. He gets drunk a lot, insults people, picks up random women and attempts to sleep with them, pukes up everywhere, eats little but deep-fried pizza, and so on.
He suffers from terrible dreams, and is convinced that he is somehow connected to the case, if only he can remember how or why. Events then take a sharp turn, and McBain finds himself a fugitive from the law. He is helped by his only friend, a local criminal who he has helped a couple of times in the past, and by two of his colleagues, who keep him up to date with the investigation. Will McBain be able to solve the case before he is caught?
Blood Tears is a quick and easy read, but I found the main character hard to like, despite the traumas he had suffered in his past. The second part of the book seems particularly unrealistic, as McBain hangs around in a local hotel doing nothing for a month apart from getting fit and drying out, before swinging into action and attempting to follow up some leads. The ending, when all is revealed, seemed a little flat. There are some engaging elements in the book, in particular the dynamics at the police station in the first half as well as the underdeveloped character of Rossi , but the second half suffers from these being dropped.
The subject matter of abuse in religious and other institutions is a harrowing and awful one.
Grab My Button
Although this book is perfectly sincere in its portrayal of this sensitive issue, I do not think it provides any further insight in comparison to previous treatments. I downloaded this book as a free promotion. I thank Rob and Sarah for recommending it. Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham Orion, DC Fiona Griffiths has been in the police force for 4 years after graduating from Cambridge.
Fiona is puzzled because there is more money washing around than is missing from the school. While Fiona wields her calculator, her Cardiff colleagues become involved in a major crime investigation. A woman and her six-year-old daughter are found dead in a dingy flat, the girl clearly having been murdered. The couple did not live in the flat, so the investigation centres on the forensic evidence leading to a drug connection and the possibility that the mother was a prostitute.
Fiona is itching to get involved, and manges to persuade DI Jackson to let her help interview some prostitutes in an attempt to find the names of men who might have been controlling them. There are many strands to this novel. Fiona herself is the main event: she is an unusual person who has suffered from an unspecified illness for two years while a teenager.
This has left her as an outsider: although she efficiently adds information into the shared database of the investigators, there is plenty she keeps to herself, especially when she perceives a link between the murder and embezzlement cases. There is also a great deal of Welshness about the book, in terms of locations and descriptions of ways of life. Talking to the Dead is an interesting novel which I enjoyed, especially the character of Fiona.
It is rather long for its content, lagging quite seriously in the middle pages. Yet towards the end of the book, when many of the apparently disparate plot strands come together, there is both a satisfactory solution to the mystery as well as some insight into her illness, and closure, for Fiona, who becomes aware of a very significant personal event due to her ability to empathise with the dead young girl.
There is an action-packed climax which I found a bit silly, but this did not spoil the book for me. This compelling novel starts simply: Mr Singh, delivering the Globe and Mail to apartment 12A of the Market Place Tower in Toronto, finds Kevin Brace waiting at the door instead of sitting at the table having his customary early-morning cup of tea. He calls the police. The unfolding tale of the investigation and court case is told from the point of view of several police officers and lawyers. The two main policemen are detective Ari Greene, son of a Holocaust survivor, and officer David Kennicott, an ex-defence lawyer who joined the police force three years ago after the death of his brother.
The two men are friends, so continue the investigation in partnership. The two main lawyers are Albert Fernandez for the Crown, keen to prove himself on his first trial case, and Nancy Parish, who is chosen by Brace, a celebrity radio talk-show host, to represent him. None of these professionals has a complete, or even much of a partial, picture of why and how the death occurred. The case, which at first seems open-and-shut, becomes more and more complicated as more information is uncovered by the investigating policemen and, later, the lawyers. The story is told in great detail against a wonderfully atmospheric depiction of Toronto, gripped by a feverish support of the Maple Leafs hockey team.
The suspense is built up gradually: at first the reader is aware of the basic facts of the investigation, such as the discovery of the murder weapon, but soon, as witnesses are interviewed, a more complex and subtle story comes to light. I thoroughly enjoyed Old City Hall, which is a confident, measured, absorbing debut.
The book is a great example of the use of detail to create atmosphere and a wonderful sense of place, without feeling as if one is reading a lecture which is often the case when authors decide to make location a major part of their story. Although most of the book is told from the point of view of the professionals involved in investigating the crime and taking it to trial, the power of the novel is in what it has to say about human emotions, in particular in the light of the grossly cruel actions, based upon conviction without proper knowledge, by authorities in the past — actions whose effects will last for the lifetimes of those concerned.
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I thank Bill Selnes for the recommendation. Bill has reviewed the book at his blog, Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan. Bill has written three posts of questions, answers and thoughts about Robert Rotenberg mostly about his next book, The Guilty Plea. The first of these is here. Not so in the case of The Eyes of Lira Kazan, which is a great read: exciting, poignant, sophisticated and bang up to date.
Not only is the plot a ripper, but the characters are individual and alive on the page. Words: 22, Language: English. Published: February 18, It picks up where Guarding Harm left off, with Cal lying on the motel room carpet with a gun in his mouth.
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Will he find the courage to manage his fear and shame after what happened at the Levin mansion, or will it all be too much for him to handle? Guarding Harm by C. Words: 34, Published: October 23, After some time to recover from his injuries, Cal travels to Los Angeles to protect a thirteen-year-old pop diva from the wandering eye of an older man, but as he gets involved, his checkered past is forced to the surface.
Chad is a part-owner of Caydence Records and Coffee located in St. Mura is a writer, memoirist, poet and performance artist who brings a unique perspective to our multi-racial and multi-cultural society. A third-generation Japanese-American, he has written intimately about his life as a man of color and the connections between race, sexuality and history.
Conor talks with John Wray about his new novel Godsend. Wray explores the circumstances that could impel a young American to abandon identity and home to become an Islamist militant, inspired by the true-life events of John Walker Lindh. Rapper and singer Dessa gives a candid account of her life in the van as a hard-touring musician, her determination to beat long odds to make a name for herself, and her struggle to fall out of love with someone in her band. Conor talks with Nancy Trembley about her fictional story based on real-life experienc es with The Hat Man.
Since Nancy was sixteen, she has been stalked at night by a black, faceless figure in a wide brimmed hat and a long jacket. He has stalked her in Ohio, Georgia, and several locations in Germany and Minnesota. What Nancy discovered later is that she wasn't the only person who sees Him! Join us in our discussion with Nancy talking about her book The Hat Man. She lives in Minneapolis where she writes two pages a day, five days a week. Leif Enger worked as a reporter and producer for Minnesota Public Radio before writing his bestselling and award-winning debut novel Peace Like a River.