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Sunday, June 14, 2020

The Patient Man by Joy Ellis and Passing Fancies by Marlowe Benn

Another compelling installment in Joy Ellis' DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evans series.  The Patient Man has the very patient killer Alistair Ashcroft back to finish his deadly game.

There are letters, texts, a bizarre wreathe and other taunts from Ashcroft.  Strange thefts; the involvement of a sniper whose targets seem random...except that the same witness is chosen each time, causing the man psychological trauma; the unusual Lorimer family; and the general stress for all members of the team.

Ellis has the ability to bring her characters to life.  From Jackman and Marie, to the members of the team, to the Lorimer family--each has the human, believable touch.  

The exception is Alistair Ashcroft, who doesn't have that humanity.  He is interesting, but as a psychopath, he remains out of that truly human realm.  Ashcroft's background was in a previous novel--and while the circumstances of his childhood are horrific, the reality is that he is unable to genuinely connect with others, while his intelligence enables him to come across as charming when he chooses and to manipulate others in pursuance of his aims.  A patient and very dangerous man.

Not my favorite in my series, but still a suspenseful and entertaining read because Joy Ellis can grab and keep my attention.  

NetGalley/Joffe Books
Mystery/Thriller.  June 18, 2020.   


Passing Fancies at first seemed destined for an excellent review because the setting and characters are so reminiscent of Yuval Taylor's nonfiction Zora and Langston which  detailed much of the Harlem Renaissance as well as the lives of Langston Huges and Zora Neal Hurston.  

Both the black artists of the time and the white promoters of the black authors seem to have found places in the novel-- if drastically altered.  The character of Paul/Pablo Duveen stands in for  Carl Van Vechten and there is a mention of a character who is obviously based on Charlotte Osgood Mason, the wealthy patron of Hughes and Hurston, who wanted to be called "The Godmother."  Neither come out well in historical perspective in spite of their patronage of the artists they supported.

There is obviously ample research on the part of the author and the novel has timely observations.   The parts that deal with the plight of blacks and of the black artists who were responsible for the Harlem Renaissance is a palpable reminder of the failure of society to give equal consideration in law and culture to all races.  The author weaves in plenty of facts although with different names of persons and places.  One example is the venue of Wallace's club with a cross-dressing star and the real Clam Shell and cross-dressing blues singer Gladys Bentley.  

The book is worth reading for its look at the time period which is fascinating with its inspirational artists.  Even the title gives a heads-up about some of the content.  However, the rest of the book and the main protagonist Julia Kydd provided little of interest for me.  

Kindle Unlimited
Historical Mystery.  2020.  Print length:  327 pages.  

9 comments:

  1. Sorry Passing Fancies didn't end up being a better read. And I still need to read a Joy Ellis novel, but my library doesn't have any of her books which complicates matters.

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    1. I was sorry, too, but Passing Fancies did end up being interesting in its timeliness! Joy Ellis' novels are usually free with Kindle Unlimited. Bk 1 in Jackman & Evans series

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    2. Good to know. Thanks! :)

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  2. Passing Fancies sounds like it had so much potential and you had especially high expectations. When a novel fails in execution, and you were hoping for so much better, that's an especially frustrating read. It's a shame how often that happens to avid readers.

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    1. It did and the historical elements were so good that it is a shame I didn't care for the mystery angle. It does happen often that we are disappointed after a promising beginning, Sam.

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  3. The Patient Man sounds like a good read. Sorry that Passing Fancies didn't end up as a better read, but at least the time period sounds interesting. :)

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    1. Joy Ellis does a good job with both her Jackman/Evans and her Nikki Galena series. They are compelling police procedurals and have great characters. :)

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  4. Both of these sound good, although Passing Fancies interests me slighty more. I am sorry it wasn't a complete winner for you, although it does sound like it had some good things going for it as well. Sometimes though, even that isn't enough.

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  5. You find all these mysteries that have me going: how have I not seen these books before!?!

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