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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Four More Mysteries

Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason.  Net Galley; released Feb. 12 by Gallery Books.

What an off-beat pleasure this book was!  From the book description:
For fans of the Coen brothers’ films or for those who just love their thrillers with a dash of sharp humor—an engaging and offbeat story about a man driven to murder, who then buries the body in his backyard only to discover that there are two other shallow graves on his property.
 There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard.”

Jamie Mason's debut novel has an unusual "hero" and plot, but one that I appreciated and enjoyed more and more as it went along.  Character-driven, macabre, funny, suspenseful--what a great film this would make.

Jason, a young man with low self-esteem, is certainly a flawed character, and when pushed to kill his nemesis, we aren't certain if we should feel sorry for him or be irritated by the wimpy, people-pleasing personality that gets him into trouble in the first place.

When poor guilty Jason is then faced with the discovery of two more bodies on his property that have nothing to do with the one he buried, he panics and decides to dig up "his" body and bury it elsewhere.  The detective in charge of the case may know that Jason isn't responsible for the two bodies discovered, but has deep suspicions about Jason's guilt for something.

 I gradually found myself rooting for Jason, hoping he would find some way out of the mess in which he found himself.  Leah, a stronger, and perhaps more interesting character, has her own issues, but her determination keeps the plot moving.

A dark comedy of coincidences and errors and with a lovable police dog that is hard to resist, Three Graves Full leaves me wanting more of Jamie Mason!

Mystery/Suspense/Humor.  2013.  print version 320 pages.

Room No. 10 by Ake Edwardson was from Net Galley and Simon & Schuster; it will be released on March 5.

Two murders separated by 20 years, but in the same hotel room.  Chief Inspector Eric Winter was on the first case,  never solved, when he was new to the force.  There are no obvious connections, but Winter can't help but believe that the two cases are related, and he feels compelled to pursue the possibility.

The novel evolves largely through the thinking process as Winter mentally tries to feel his way by asking himself questions and answering them, then discarding or categorizing his responses.  This process is repeated in the team's approach to the current crime as the team members brain storm ideas and possible scenarios which are accepted tentatively or rejected.

Edwardson has written about 18 novels, ten of which are in the Eric Winter series, but only five of this series have been translated to English.

Although a bit slow, this police procedural is interesting, partly because of the emphasis on what goes on as Winter and his team try to find ways into the murders when the physical evidence doesn't provide needed answers.  Have to admit that the "yes/no" phrasing become a bit irritating, and some could be eliminated, but I'm interested in more from Ake Edwardson and Eric Winter.

Mystery/Crime/Police Procedural.  2013.  print version 464 pages.

The Frozen Shroud by Martin Edwards, another Net Galley ARC; Poisoned Pen Press; release date April 2.  This mystery is the latest in his Lake District series.

A maid murdered before WWI, her faced battered, then covered, shrouded from view, has inspired a legend of the ghostly maid being seen every Halloween.  In contemporary times, the murder of a young woman is attached to the legend because the woman's battered face was covered in a similar manner.  And now, five years later, another Halloween approaches.

I found Hannah Scarlett more interesting than Daniel Kind, the expert in the history of murder who is the novel's main character.  I read this several weeks ago, and I'm having difficulty remembering just why it didn't catch and hold my attention as much as hoped--that is pretty telling in itself.  Interesting choice of names, although Hannah is not really a scarlet woman, but a police officer, nor was Daniel unusually kind.

Mystery.  2013.  Print Version 250 pages.

Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman; Net Galley, Random House/Ballantine.  Pub. date Jan. 2013.

This one was not for me.  I had a hard time connecting to Nora and believing in the other characters.  The plot just didn't work for me at all, and although I kept hoping for something that would turn things around, it never happened.

Mystery.  2013.  print version 336 pages.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you've been a busy reader. I'm tickled to see that you enjoyed Three Graves Full. My husband read and loved it so we got a Coen movie to watch. It was offbeat but we liked it. We watched Brother Where Art Thou?