Another well-written mystery featuring murders and secrets in a harsh, haunting landscape.

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Cries in the Wind

From the Wind Series series , Vol. 3

In this third volume in a series, a Nebraska attorney with psychic abilities investigates some old murders, putting herself and others in danger.

Megan Docket considers herself a magnet for trouble. Though not yet 30, she’s managed to kick a few hornets’ nests, not to mention she’s “killed three men in three years.” She had good reasons, but the memories disturb her. Four months pregnant and reconciled with her husband, Brian, she’s not planning on more trouble, but newly recovered evidence stirs up the decades-old disappearance of three women and a subsequent house fire. No bodies were ever found, but a man was convicted, who admitted to arson but not murder. Walking the property where the house once stood, Megan hears voices in the wind, a special ability she possesses. Unbearable, agonizing wails of two women tell her that she must investigate and that the third woman didn’t die at the scene. But when Megan looks into several fishy matters, she’s strongly warned to back off—as when her horse is shot and killed. Brian wants her to drop it, but he can’t influence her; that, and other tensions, threaten their marriage. Megan draws on her close network of friends and relatives for support, and though she unravels several lingering mysteries, finding the truth comes at a very high cost. Bruce (Alone in the Wind, 2016, etc.) again offers a tight, nicely observed mystery with thriller and paranormal elements, continuing to develop relationships from the first two novels. She handles Megan and Brian’s marriage problems with great sensitivity to both points of view, and Megan’s bulldog inability to let things go becomes central to the plot, a good tie-in. Bruce also brings in the paranormal aspect with subtlety; Megan’s insights provide her with important clues, but her ability isn’t overmined for plot convenience. The plot, with multiple interrelating characters and events from both now and 20 years ago, can get a little confusing, but Bruce does a fairly good job of keeping the reader oriented.

Another well-written mystery featuring murders and secrets in a harsh, haunting landscape.

Pub Date: July 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-57638-522-7

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Merriam Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

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LAST ORDERS

Britisher Swift's sixth novel (Ever After, 1992 etc.) and fourth to appear here is a slow-to-start but then captivating tale of English working-class families in the four decades following WW II. When Jack Dodds dies suddenly of cancer after years of running a butcher shop in London, he leaves a strange request—namely, that his ashes be scattered off Margate pier into the sea. And who could better be suited to fulfill this wish than his three oldest drinking buddies—insurance man Ray, vegetable seller Lenny, and undertaker Vic, all of whom, like Jack himself, fought also as soldiers or sailors in the long-ago world war. Swift's narrative start, with its potential for the melodramatic, is developed instead with an economy, heart, and eye that release (through the characters' own voices, one after another) the story's humanity and depth instead of its schmaltz. The jokes may be weak and self- conscious when the three old friends meet at their local pub in the company of the urn holding Jack's ashes; but once the group gets on the road, in an expensive car driven by Jack's adoptive son, Vince, the story starts gradually to move forward, cohere, and deepen. The reader learns in time why it is that no wife comes along, why three marriages out of three broke apart, and why Vince always hated his stepfather Jack and still does—or so he thinks. There will be stories of innocent youth, suffering wives, early loves, lost daughters, secret affairs, and old antagonisms—including a fistfight over the dead on an English hilltop, and a strewing of Jack's ashes into roiling seawaves that will draw up feelings perhaps unexpectedly strong. Without affectation, Swift listens closely to the lives that are his subject and creates a songbook of voices part lyric, part epic, part working-class social realism—with, in all, the ring to it of the honest, human, and true.

Pub Date: April 5, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-41224-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1996

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Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...

FIREFLY LANE

Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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