Following are reviews of two books I’ve recently enjoyed reading.
Deadly Harvest by Marissa Shrock
This excellently crafted mystery novel introduces us to amateur detective, Georgia Rae Winston. Georgia isn’t thrown into detecting by whim or chance or a notion of being a busy body or butinsky. She is thrown into it when she discovers the murdered body of an old friend in a field on Georgia’s farm. What first looked like a hunting accident is soon ruled a murder.
The shock of finding the body becomes even more complicated when Georgia receives a letter from the dead woman asking for Georgia’s help is resolving an unnamed problem.
Georgia is also driven by the unsolved murder of her father several years earlier.
The case becomes even more complicated when a member of Georgia’s own family is arrested for the woman’s murder. Georgia’s own life is threatened when she continues to investigate.
The author, Marissa Shrock, presents a fascinating mystery with a multitude of potential suspects, each with a plausible motive.
Ms. Shrock places her story in a fictional town in Indiana and creates a believable story world of a small town farming community with families that have been there for generations. The author brings the community to life with cleverly crafted characters and relationships that extend back years.
Ms. Shrock also adds believable romantic complications to Georgia’s life without slipping into a formulaic exposition of the romance genre.
Georgia stands out as a character. Dedicated and determined to run her own farm and to find the killer. She is strong in many areas, but also flawed. And the tension between the two draws us to the character. The characters surrounding her offer both support and frustration. I particularly enjoy Georgia’s self-deprecation. She’s aware of her weaknesses and doesn’t take herself too seriously.
The writing is solid and strong and creative.
I look forward to the next Georgia Rae Winston mystery.
Treasure Box by Orson Scott Card
I found this gem of a book on a recent journey to a used bookstore. I consider my self a long time fan of Mr. Card ever since I read Ender’s Game. I thought I had read most of his work. Until I discovered this one, published in 1996. Don’t know how I missed it.
It’s a ghost story with the ultimate paranormal twist where our hero ends up fighting evil incarnate.
The story is full of Mr. Card’s talent as a storyteller. The hero, Quentin Fears, is real and believable as a billionaire recluse who seems to have found true love until he discovers the woman of his life is a witch using him to release the ultimate of evil into the world.
All of the characters show Mr. Card’s gift of creating fascinating people who must deal with a world that is unlike anything they’ve ever experienced. The story world is anchored in America, but the invasion of the paranormal left me gasping. Mr. Card knows how to put the reader into a story and then surprise him with twists and turns. When you finish the book, you have the experience of a story that took you on a marvelous and horrifying to journey to an unexpected yet satisfying end.