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Peace, Love and Murder by Nancy Holzner

Publisher: Gale Publishing ISBN-10: 1594147752

Reviewed by Karen Treanor, New Mystery Reader

If your hippie parents had named you “Rainbow Windsong Forrester”, you’d probably change your name to Bo and run off to join the army, too.

Bo Forrester has spent 20 years not being what his parents wanted—now he’s come home to try and reconcile his past, only to find it gone.  The hippie parents aren’t there, and the old commune has been subsumed by a housing development.

Bo gets a job as a cab driver while he’s assessing his options, but life soon gets very complicated when a dead man turns up in the trunk of his cab.  Of course, this has to be the day he gets stopped for speeding by a cute little deputy sheriff with the instincts of a rat terrier.  Despite having no connection at all to the dead man, Bo is suspected of his murder.  Everywhere he goes, Deputy Trudy seems to be there, lurking behind lamp-posts and hanging out in his favourite bar.

Just because he’s a stubborn cuss, Bo attends the dead man’s funeral, which adds to the suspicion that he knows something about the murder.  The dead man’s wife gets friendly, which adds more suspicion.  And then a fellow cabbie turns out to be a drug dealer, which focuses attention on the cab company yet again.  It looks as if Bo’s only way out of the mess is to do some detecting himself.  This could be difficult, given his shadow, Trudy.  Can he trust her?  Should he?

This is a fast, amusing read that won’t upset your stomach or mental equilibrium.  I’m sure there will be future adventures for Bo and Trudy, and I look forward to reading them.

 

 

 

 

Murder at Longbourn by Tracy Kiely

Publisher: Minotaur Books  ISBN-10: 0312537565

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Elizabeth Parker, a recently dumped (depending how you look at it) woman, has had it with the big city and so takes up her Aunt’s invitation to spend the New Year’s celebration at her recently opened Cape Cod’s Bed and Breakfast, an invitation she’ll soon regret. Sure, the evening’s festivities sound enticing with a murder/dinner mystery set-up in the historic renovated inn, but when someone actually ends up dead when the lights go out, fun turns to stun, and with Beth’s aunt being the number one suspect, she naturally feels a dire need to solve the crime.  

Kiely’s debut novel may seem familiar, but maybe it’s that familiarity that makes this a perfect book to read on a rainy day when thinking of the true aspects of crime seems just too much.  Her asides to Jane Austin via her amateur detective who shares the love of Austin with her aunt are sweet and warming, and the crime and clues that follow are bloodless and cozily non-offending.  Sometimes, this is just what is needed for a lover of mystery: a crime played out with clues cleverly displayed, characters that are unassuming, and the smell of just baked bread lingering in the background.  This is a charming read and a fun who-done-it that manages to hit the mark in a delightful manner, and we look forward to more in this very promising series.    

 

 

Skull Duggery by Aaron Elkins

Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime  ISBN-10: 0425227979

Reviewed by Bonnye Busbice Good, New Mystery Reader

Fans of the Gideon Oliver series will rejoice with the return of the famous Skeleton Detective in a mystery that unfolds as Gideon and his wife Julie vacation on a Mexican tourist ranch that has special meaning for Julie.  Julie rejoices in seeing her cousin Annie, Uncle Carl, adopted Uncle Tony and the rest of her relatives who run the ranch. 

As a young woman, Julie worked on the family ranch and has been called to help out many years later after an extreme personnel shortage leaves the family in temporarily dire need of accounting and hospitality services.  Gideon, expecting long hours of contemplation and relaxation, has left his forensic tools at home although the itch to commune with bones appears quickly as his relaxation turns into boredom.  Fortunately for Gideon, the very quiet town residents recently discovered mummified remains—and the local police request Gideon’s expertise in order to prevent the national police from returning and wreaking havoc on the small department as they did in a murder investigation just the year before.

While Julie keeps busy with the ranch, Gideon renews his friendship with an intellectually entertaining old friend and immerses himself in the mummy’s remains and previous year’s bones.  He also manages to continue his habit of making friends in unlikely places but primarily works this mystery by himself, creating new problems in need of solutions in the process, making this an ideal vacation for the inherently interesting character of Gideon Oliver.

As usual, Elkins ties all the loose ends together in a satisfying conclusion, including some ends no one knew were problematic.  In a rare misstep early in Skull Duggery, readers will wonder what horrific experience Elkins has had with feminists although he does finally drop an irrelevant angle on a women’s conference partway through the book.  This particular book also proves relatively bloodless in the traditional sense, so squeamish mystery readers shouldn’t worry about too much gory description.  Fans of forensic mysteries and TV shows like Bones will definitely want to pick up this welcome addition to the Skeleton Detective series.

 

 

 

 

Sheer Folly by Carola Dunn

Publisher: Minotaur Books  ISBN-10: 031238775X

Reviewed by Bonnye Busbice Good, New Mystery Reader

Daisy Dalrymple may have lowered her social status by marrying a commoner—and policeman!—but she and her best friend Lucy are making the most of 1926 and its new freedoms for women.  As part of her free-lance writing projects, Daisy has decided to cover a folly, or unique money-draining project, for an article and a book, both of which will utilize Lucy’s professional photographs.  This particular folly is of a recently restored grotto made from three caves and adorned with statues and gas fixtures (although lacking a good place to sit down) on the former Appsworth estate, now owned by a non-royal plumbing company owner, whose respectability hinges more on his purchase of Appsworth Hall rather than his cheerful manner.

While Daisy and Lucy work, they meet the obnoxious Lord Rydal, known as Rhino for his boorish behavior; Julia Beaufort, whom her accompanying and impoverished mother is desperately trying to marry off to a suitable gentleman; the secretive Canadian professor Charles Armitage; and other characters whose presence has little to do with the plumber who serves as their underappreciated host.  After a fatal accident occurs at the grotto, the local police join Daisy’s husband in delicately investigating the privileged guests.

Featuring romance, danger, and an engrossing atmospheric depiction of the time period, Sheer Folly works well as a light read for historical mystery fans in this latest of the Daisy Dalrymple series.  Dunn has definitely done her research with the interests and class bias of the pre-Depression English well-to-do and her tale romps along with Daisy and Lucy as their quip-filled working weekend turns into a serious police investigation which threatens to expose the embarrassing secrets of the titled guests.

 

 

The Night Monster by James Swain

Publisher: Ballantine Books  ISBN-10: 0345515463

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

When Florida PI Jack Carpenter is asked by his daughter to look into a peculiar man who has been stalking her college basketball team, what first seems like a simple case of weirdness turns into much more when one of the women is abducted.  An abduction that Jack actually witnesses and ends up in the hospital as a result of when his rescue attempt falls short. What’s more is that Jack recognizes one of the abductors - a “giant” that looks much like the man who got away 18 years before doing the same thing in a case that Jack worked on as a rookie cop on the force.  But this time Jack is determined not to let the culprit slip through his hands, even when nobody believes him and he finds out he’s on his own to rescue the young woman from a couple of bad guys who have had years to refine their deadly deeds.

Where to start on what’s wrong here is simply from the beginning.  In chapter one Jack wrestles an alligator while rescuing an autistic child from drowning - just another day in the life.  Another day and a few chapters later Jack spots a group of casino cheaters that have evaded the professionals on the case in a sting operation, saving the day yet again. But somehow when it comes to saving the abducted girl, Jack can’t seem to make the right moves.  Aborted shoot-outs, waiting for back-up, not waiting for back-up, going fishing, and walking the dog seem to take precedence more often than not.  Mentioning more mishaps might ruin the “suspense.”  

In a plot that starts out with more drama than sense, Swain continues to solidify his decision that logic and reality are not needed as he proceeds down a very slippery slope full of events that get more preposterous by the page.  From Jack putting crime scene evidence in his pocket (to protect it from the unseen evidence stealers roaming about?), to going undercover as a guy out fishing who actually goes fishing as the clock is ticking on a young girl’s life, to shooting at the bad guy who is holding said victim as a shield and thinking “it’s her life not mine,” are just a few examples that could lead to a head injury for not only the reader but for those in close range who might get hit when the book is thrown in frustration.

A little research, a bit more editing, and a whole lot more conscious deliberation might have saved this one.  Instead, even the most loyal mystery buffs will find their time better spent watching bad reality TV.

 

 

 

 

The Hidden Man by David Ellis

Publisher: Putnam Adult  ISBN-10: 0399155791

Reviewed by Joseph Obermaier, New Mystery Reader

Every good trial lawyer knows how to tell a story.  Perhaps that is why so many have tried their hand at fiction.  David Ellis has made it a second career.  In addition to having written five other novels, including the Edgar Award winning Line of Vision, Ellis is still Counsel to the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and served as the impeachment prosecutor in the trial of former Governor Rod Blagojevich.  His latest novel is The Hidden Man, a legal mystery introducing a new series lead, Jason Kolarich.

Jason Kolarich has issues.  After blaming himself for his wife and child’s death in a car accident, he’s turned his back on a promising career at a big law firm to hang up a shingle as a solo practitioner.  He is hired by a stranger named Smith (not his real name) to defend someone Jason once knew well, an old boyhood friend, Sammy Cutler.  In the summer of 1980, Sammy’s two-year-old sister Audrey was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night and never seen again.  A sex offender in the neighborhood, Griffin Perlini, was arrested, but never convicted.  Sammy is accused of killing Perlini now, almost thirty years later.  Though few would blame him for the death of a pedophile responsible for the disappearance of his sister, Sammy has never admitted to the crime. 

Smith represents an undisclosed “third party” who wants Sammy acquitted of the murder, and is willing to go to great lengths to see that it happens, even supplying witnesses and a patsy for the defense.  When Kolarich starts receiving violent threats from Mr. Smith, he realizes that discovering the identity of this unknown third party is somehow involved with the mystery of Audrey’s disappearance and may be the key to winning Sammy’s freedom. 

The Hidden Man has an original plot, with lots of twists and turns, and a surprising but logical twist at the end.  The story jumps around in time, occasionally shifting the point of view, but never in a way that is difficult to follow and always to help flesh out the rich history of the characters.  I want to see more of Jason, and look forward to the next entry in a hopefully long-lived series. 

David Ellis is a remarkably talented writer.  His prose is in a traditionally “literary” vein, but the additional attention demanded from the reader quickly pays off as the story progresses.  His sentences seem as intricately constructed as his plotting, relying as much on inference and suggestion as plain prose.  It is a richer experience than most mysteries, and ought to be savored and enjoyed. 

If all this seems more than a little reminiscent of Scott Turow’s work, I’m sure that’s intentional.  Ellis once described Turow as inspiration.  Like Turow’s Kindle County, The Hidden Man is set in a fictitious Midwestern city that bears a remarkable resemblance to Chicago.  All the other typically Turow elements are there:  crisply drawn characters, themes of loyalty and trust, and the tension between the law in theory and the dirtier side of the law in practice.  And like Turow, Ellis is a master of misdirection.  What you see is never simply what you get.  Much has been said about imitation and flattery; Ellis’s work is not so much imitation as emulation.  And Scott Turow should be very flattered indeed. 

 

 

 

 

 

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon

Publisher: Ballantine Books  ISBN-10: 0345476026

Reviewed by Carol Reid, New Mystery Reader

"But imagine yourself in pieces.

            Imagine all the people who have known you only for a year or a month or a single encounter, imagine those people in a room together trying to assemble a portrait of you, the way an archaeologist puts together the fragments of a ruined façade, or the bones of a caveman. Do you remember the fable of the seven blind men and the elephant?

            It's not that easy, after all, to know what you're made up of."

 

More a novel of mysteries than a mystery novel, Await Your Reply explores the fragile illusion of personal identity, the lucidity of madness and the sticky web of kinship which both drives and destroys the characters' senses of self.

Miles Cheshire searches for his brilliant, chameleon-like twin brother, Hayden, who years earlier may or may not have been responsible for the house fire which took the lives of their mother and stepfather. Now in his mid-twenties, Miles's search for his twin takes him on a parallel journey through his own memories of their childhood and each's perceptions of reality.

Eighteen year-old orphan Lucy Lattimer and her former history teacher George Orson are lovers on the lam from the tiny nowheresville where they met and formed an alliance. After a period spent in the abandoned motel Orson presents as having been his childhood home, he persuades Lucy that in order to go on together, they must cast off George and Lucy and emerge as other people. What do they have to lose?

University student Ryan Schuyler is dead- at least, that's the plan. His black sheep "Uncle Jay" has recently revealed to Ryan that he is in fact Ryan's father and that Ryan's life so far is an utter falsehood, that his "parents" are the sister and brother in law of Ryan's deceased mother. So why not fake his own death and fall in with Jay, an online scamming entrepreneur?

The story bounces unapologetically among these three plotlines which begin as very distinct, separate entities. As the novel hurtles to its conclusion, the distinctions become muddled and even more mesmerizing.

This is a dazzling, dark, beautifully rendered novel which is well worth several reads. Highly recommended.

 

 

 

The Spire by Richard North Patterson

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.  ISBN-10: 0805087737

Reviewed by Dana King,  New Mystery Reader

A lot of books claim to tell how to write a best-seller. Most are descriptions of formulae intended to ensure critics know you checked the boxes and readers will be pleasantly puzzled without being overly challenged. Originality is encouraged, but not so much the reader leaves the comfort zone. Good writing is nice—it won’t disqualify you—but well down the list of requirements. Suspension of disbelief can be dispensed with if necessary.

There are other elements, not mandatory but still helpful. The protagonist should be a man young enough to be vigorous, old enough to have experience. He will meet a beautiful, younger (but not inappropriately so) woman who is haunted by some aspect of her life or this case, preferably both. There will be a handful of supporting characters from which the villain may be found, a small enough number to keep easy track of. If this means people are incongruously kept in proximity for extended periods of time or through convoluted circumstances, so be it.

Language must be safe, but not sterile. No one wants to horrify those who don’t mind murder, rape, sadomasochism, or other forms of gruesome violence, but are offended by too many of George Carlin’s Seven Words. Grammar, including dialog, will be impeccable. No one wants to disappoint seventh-grade teacher Betsy Puregrammar so she won’t buy the next installment. External events may distract readers, so each speaker will refer to his listener by name as often as 800 numbers are repeated in late night TV ads. (“I’m glad to see you’re safe, John.” “As am I, Marsha.” “Hold me, John.” “Yes, Marsha, I’ll never leave you alone again.”) 

Exposition is always helpful; there can’t be enough of it. Obscure facts about each characters should be paraded before the reader as possible clues or red herrings, or just to get the word count up around 100,000. Characters are always willing—eager—to share their innermost tragedies and malforming psychic events, often prefaced with, “I’ve never told this to anyone before.”

So goes Richard North Patterson’s latest thriller, The Spire. A student is strangled, her body left at the base of Caldwell College’s most notable landmark, a bell tower referred to by all as the Spire. Football hero Mark Darrow’s best friend is convicted of the murder. Darrow goes on to become the John Edwards of financial fraud lawyers (sans the infidelity), and is asked by Caldwell provost—and Darrow’s mentor—Lionel Farr to return to Caldwell as president in the aftermath of a financial scandal. Darrow comes back to find everything reminds him of the murder, and of his friend in prison, which seems odd, since Darrow hasn’t even written the guy for years.

Darrow, of course falls for the beautiful—but haunted—younger woman, Farr’s daughter. He also must work through the current scandal and accommodate his suddenly urgent interest in the murder with a cast of supporting players who are the same people he knew in college and high school. The book’s other salient points have been described above.

The killer can be determined in the first third of the book; the only real suspense is in wondering what clue will be found, or what previous clue will be discovered to have a different meaning, so that the story can come around to him. It’ll sell a million.

 

 

Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

Publisher: Minotaur Books  ISBN-10: 0312368488

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla,  New Mystery Reader

In her third outing featuring the violent and unresolved saga between serial killer Gretchen Lowell and detective Artie Sheridan, Cain continues her propensity for graphically designed suspense that shows no mercy for the faint at heart.

Taking up where she left off in her second in the series, with detective Sheridan still voluntarily residing in a mental institution recovering from his tortuous, near-death experience at the hands of the alluring serial killer Gretchen, who has successfully escaped from prison, Cain takes it up a notch by introducing Gretchen’s fan club.

It seems that the nation has become entranced with Gretchen, otherwise known as the Beauty Killer, and with Gretchen still out there nobody feels safe, especially when a new set of grisly killings are discovered bearing her signature.  But is Gretchen the culprit, or is it the work of someone from one of her many fan clubs merely duplicating her fine art of killing?  This is the question that will bring Artie out of his retirement and his mental vacation within the white, blank walls of the safe institution and back into the very heart of the evil that drove him there.

While it’s recommended that the more thoughtful reader start from the beginning of the series in order to understand the psychological obsessions and dimensions that are really the heart of this saga, those who are seeking pure gore can easily pick up the series at anytime and be satisfied. But do heed the warning that Cain’s idea of madness is a lot more graphic than most, and new readers might just find this latest to be mostly a gratuitous display of violence that without that meaningful context used in her first two novels lacks the validation previously supplied.  However, she does make a salient point about our nation’s obsession with, and tendency to, glorify such madness, and maybe that alone is enough to justify her unabashed approach to this latest feast of gore. 

 

 

 

 

In Their Blood by Sharon Potts

Publisher: Oceanview Press ISBN 978 1 933515 62 5

Reviewed by Karen Treanor,  New Mystery Reader

Whatever Sharon Potts is doing for a day job, she can probably consider giving it up pretty soon, if this book is a measure of her ability as a thriller writer.   Most writers can make you turn the pages by creating a protagonist whose well-being you care about, but it takes real skill to create a fairly unlikeable leading character and then convince the reader to want to know what happens to him.

Jeremy Stroeb is a spoiled brat who’s never had to worry where his next meal was coming from.   A disappointment to his parents, he has run off to bum around Europe and live a life of no pressure or responsibility.   That all changes when his parents are murdered and he comes home too late for the funeral.

Jeremy’s first instinct is to return to the beach-bum life, but the plight of his teenage sister Elise slows his departure.  If Jeremy  leaves, their nasty uncle gets custody of her and the family home.  Then he is convinced that the police are taking the line of least resistance and not really digging into the motive for the murders.  For starters, who was the target, his mother or his father?  It’s obvious  that this wasn’t a burglary gone wrong, which means the real motivation must be hidden in something his parents did or knew.  Was it his university professor activist father, or his high-powered CPA mother?

Helped by his father’s sexy graduate assistant, who turns out to have hidden motives of her own, Jeremy begins digging into his parents’ past.  The more he finds out, the more he’s puzzled: like most of us, he never knew a great deal about who his parents really were, what they did, what they knew, what they dreamed.  He’s partly appalled and partly fascinated, and totally confused.  As he learns more about the people who made him, Jeremy begins to gain some insight into himself, and there’s a glimmer of hope that he may, after all, become a functioning adult one day.

Let down by one ally,  Jeremy reluctantly accepts the help of another, but as the two of them come closer to learning what’s behind the smoke and mirrors, the chances of becoming the murderer’s target themselves increases. 

Potts has produced a well-constructed novel, with one clue leading to another and the fear factor increasing bit by bit as the story progresses.  Starting with a feeling of vague unease, she screws up the tension, especially for Elise, who knows something but can’t remember what it is until suddenly she’s in mortal danger.   

This is a very solid start for what’s bound to be a profitable new career for author Potts.

 

 

 

Crime Always Pays by Declan Burke

Publishing info: Kindle Edition (Coming soon from Amazon.com)

Reviewed by Dana King,  New Mystery Reader

Few books in recent memory have been as much fun to read as Declan Burke’s The Big O. The sequel, Crime Always Pays, is a worthy successor.

The whole cast is back. Ray, the “retired’ kidnapper; Karen, the armed robber with the empty gun, and her one-eyed wolf-dog, Anna; Rossi, on parole, still working his idea for a charity for criminals; Doyle, the cop; Sleeps, Rossi’s narcoleptic driver; Terry, Ray’s old boss; Madge, the kidnap “victim;” and Melody. The book starts a few hours after The Big O lets off, with Karen determined to get Anna to a safe place. She—Anna, not Karen—almost bit Rossi’s head off, and the authorities will put her to sleep if they catch her. Greece looks promising. Her plan is complicated because she has the €200,000 scammed in Madge’s kidnapping and just about everyone wants a piece.

The book is an extended chase scene reminiscent of the 1963 film, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. The players break into increasingly fluid teams as allegiances shift and plans change. The reader knows more than any of the characters—not difficult, considering some of the characters—but still not quite enough to expect what comes next. The end result is a little like what might be expected if Elmore Leonard wrote from an outline by Carl Hiaasen.

Don’t worry too much about where everyone is all the time; they’ll get there in the end. Hell, one character thinks he’s on his way to Sicily while his “team” is driving along the Adriatic toward Greece. If he’s off that much, it won’t kill you not to know exactly where everyone else is. The fun here is in the trip. Trying to track too closely everyone’s precise whereabouts would be like going down a water slide slowly enough to know where you were at all times. It can be done, but how much fun would it be?

Devotees of strictly laid-out police procedurals or cozies may find Crime Always Pays a bit pell-mell for their taste; Burke’s not writing for them, anyway. Crime Always Pays is about the flow, the feel, the dialog, the interactions among characters, not knowing who’s working with—or against—who, the feeling that anything might happen at any moment. It’s as close to watching an action movie as a reading experience can be.

The best news may be the surprise Burke saves for the very end, which deftly sets up a possible third volume if he wants to write one. Let’s hope he does.

 

 

 

Heaven’s Keep by William Kent Krueger

Publisher: Atria  ISBN-10: 1416556761

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla,  New Mystery Reader

Cork O’Connor, former Minnesota sheriff who also spent many years as a PI, is trying to get hired back with the Tamarack County Sherriff’s Department when his wife goes missing along with several Tribal officials during a flight to a conference on Indian gaming.  All anyone knows is that the plane suddenly disappeared while traveling over the desolate, snow-swept plains of Wyoming. 

Cork is quick to head there to join the search, bringing along his 19 year old son, a boy who has always been haunted by dreams of his mother in danger and lost forever.  And as the days turn into weeks, and then months, it seems clear that the boy’s portent of danger has at last come true.  And when at last the search is called off, Cork and his son head back home, knowing the time has come to let go and get on with their lives.

But when several months later two women show up, one the wife of the pilot of the plane, asking for Cork’s help to find out the truth behind the plane’s disappearance, their doubts about what happened that fateful day begin to raise warning flags in Cork’s mind as well.  So he sets off to find answers in a search that will lead him down dangerous trails where he’ll encounter drug runners, greedy developers, and tribal members with questionable intent who will do just about anything to keep their secrets undiscovered.  But along with all these questions comes the biggest one of all, is it possible that his wife survived the crash, and if she did, is she still out there waiting to be found?

This latest from Krueger comes with a diverse set of themes which include loyalty, greed, the importance of family, friends, and tradition, and perhaps most importantly, the consequences of holding dear and without corruption the values closest to one’s heart versus letting them go for a price. 

While raising some of the many questions that rage between those supporting unchecked development and those who oppose it, as well as those raised between Native Americans who support the financial advancements that gaming could bring and those who feel it is just as capable as bringing ruin to tradition and pride, Krueger manages to present both sides with a fair sense of reasoning. 

And amidst all this, he also brings to the table a story of loss and letting go set in beautifully vivid backdrops filled with an ambience that is just as sorrowful as what takes place within them.   This latest is worth reading, and is one that both fans and newcomers will find holds enough creditable sentiments worth considering long after it’s over.     

 

 

 

 

The Silent Spirit by Margaret Coel

Publisher: Berkley Hardcover  ISBN-10: 0425229769

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla,  New Mystery Reader

Vicky Holden, a Wyoming Arapahoe Indian lawyer, has been doing the best she can to settle into her relatively new partnership of love and law with her handsome Lakota partner Adam.  But while she understands logically that fighting for the bigger picture for her people is all good and fine, she still misses the close-up and personal cases that were her bread and butter before the new arrangement. 

So when she begins to be receive mysterious phone calls from another Arapaho who claims to have killed a fellow member of the tribe, she can’t help but feel a duty to help the sobbing voice on the phone.  Initially unaware that the victim is a known drug addict just released from prison, she is undeterred to find the truth. 

But when she discovers that the murdered victim is a young man who was seeking answers to the mysterious disappearance of his great-grandfather years before, a search shared by Father John, the mission priest on the reservation who she unadmittedly holds feelings for, she can’t help but get overly involved even while knowing it might ruin all she’s built.  And as the search leads these two seekers to the same place, Hollywood’s “moving pictures” in the early 1920s, they’ll find their answers becoming one and the same as they reach back into that past and its deadly secrets that have been waiting to be revealed.

Both history buffs and the uninitiated of Hollywood folklore and the roles Indians played in the first true Westerns will find some pretty interesting stuff in this latest.  Coel offers up some fascinating facts mixed with fiction in her flashbacks to the early 1920s methods of making Westerns that provide some interesting surprises.  All the while, of course, highlighted by her insightful look into the repercussions that continue to linger from America’s past history with Native Americans. 

And for fans of the series who hope to see both Vicky and Father John end up where they belong, doing what they love, she continues to offer up a sliver of hope that they might just have arrived, or if not, they might get there soon.