Top positive review
16 of 16 people found this helpful
Bland Title and Cover Can't Hide a Fantastic Book!
on September 25, 2002
Although I'd never read an Athol Dickson novel before, the fantastic reviews and blurbs from other authors convinced me to give it a shot. Boy am I thankful! Otherwise I might've missed out on a great story. The title, though appropiate enough, is ambiguous and rather bland for a mystery thriller. The cover is equally so.
The writing, on the other hand, sparkles. Dickson tells a fascinating tale that incorporates murder, mystery, love, fanatical obsession, Jewish and Christian dialogue, and the depths of relationships. He opens with the release from prison of a man convicted of murder. The two girls who witnessed him over the body, Ruth and Kate, are now grown-up and emotionally disconnected from each other. Their religious differences and the pain of their past have pushed them apart. Ruth, single after the sudden death of her fiance, is a reform Rabbi. Kate, a widow with two kids, is an antique store owner. Neither of them are aware of the threats that have been unleashed with the prisoner's release, but the violence and suspense that soon surround them force them together in a fight for survival.
Dickson masterfully portrays his characters. His villians are wrought with real pain and motivations; his protagonists are fallible, likeable, and sometimes unpredictable. The dialogue rings true throughout. His setting of New Orleans, while never as palpable as in a James Lee Burke mystery, is believable. The only flaw, if it can be deemed so, is the multiple viewpoints that might be distracting to some. Though each character's thoughts are viable, not all of the minor ones are necessary to the overall story. I still enjoyed them for the added nuances they gave.
Without revealing the plot twists and surprises, I'll leave it to others to discover the lingering and powerful effects of this novel. Meet Ruth, Kate, Sol, Gabby, Jake, and Orvis--characters you won't soon forget. Don't let the title and cover fool you...it'll have you tightly in its grip until the final pages.