Having been a huge fan of Mr Ellory’s writing since the magnificent and still unbeaten (although only just!) “Candlemoth” this is a book that I have been chomping at the bit for. Literally. It was in my diary. On my phone reminders. On my calender. Finally it arrived and I delayed reading it. For as long as I could – because once these novels are read, they are read…and lately I’ve been trying to control my chronic impatience on these things. I managed a few days. Then off I went. Was it worth the wait? Yes indeedy it was.
The story follows Sheriff Gaines as he investigates the murder of Nancy Denton. 20 years ago she disappeared from her home town, the town where Gaines is now Sheriff, presumed a runaway the case went cold. One day the river offers up her body – perfectly preserved – and so begins a journey back into the past. An emotional one for all.
Of course as usual, its the characters that are key here. Sheriff Gaines, a Vietnam war survivor has his own issues – ones that influence him as he takes this journey. His background, his feelings are as much a part of the solution to the mystery as anything else – and the emotional response I had to how he felt about war and life were key to my reading heart being right there with him while he is sorting out the truth from the lies. This is also a story about friendship and love – Nancy’s “circle” of friends, including the powerful Wade family are terrifically well written and well rounded characters, every one of them with their own influences to bring. The final solution may surprise you, it may not but by the time you get there it won’t matter. Its why I love Mr Ellory’s books – its the people you care about – where they end up, whether they can find happiness, what they become. The mystery element is always very much secondary to the people involved in it. Always within the pages there is someone I can relate to – in this case Nancy’s best friend – and that folks, is the key to a darn good book. Give this a go – if its the first Ellory for you its a great one to start with. If not, this is a great addition and you won’t be disappointed.