Customer Reviews: Old Wounds (Dell Mystery)
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4.8 out of 5 stars17
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I enjoyed this book so much that it's made my list of all-time favorite mysteries. This is the third installment in Vicki Lane's brilliantly written series starring the intelligent, likable, down-to-earth Elizabeth Goodweather. I loved the first two books, but this one surpassed them, something I didn't think was possible.

In addition to fascinating, well-portrayed characters, an absorbing, complex storyline, authentic-sounding dialogue, and a beautiful, vividly described setting in the North Carolina Appalachians, the narrative was so richly textured that despite my eagerness to find out what happened next, I found myself rereading parts of it because they resonated so strongly for me.

There are flashbacks to the childhood of two of the characters, both girls, and their rich fantasy life in which they are Cherokee Indians, evoking memories of my own childhood. And I loved the references to some of my favorite children's books, such as the Chronicles of Narnia, "The Dark Is Rising," the Oz books, and "The Hobbit," along with thoughts on Dorothy L. Sayers' "Gaudy Night" and Robert A. Heinlein's "Glory Road."

I have never been to North Carolina or the Appalachians, but the detailed portrayal of the region and the lifelike, non-stereotypical characters in this series make me feel as if I have. This book can be read on its own, but I strongly recommend reading the previous two books first so you can get to know the characters.
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on September 11, 2007
I started reading "Old Wounds" this morning and read straight through the book only stopping to answer the telephone once. The question of what happened to the best friend of Elizabeth's oldest daughter became an obsession with Rosemary. The portrayal of a mother's concern for an adult daughter and of the daughter's desperate attempt to remember everything surrounding her friend Maythorn's disappearance was absorbing. As with the other books in the series, Lane occasionally uses flashback chapters which in "Old Wounds" take the reader to the time the disappearance occurred. The Elizabeth Goodweather series does not have to be read in order, but there is character development from one book to the next which adds to the appeal of the stories.
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on December 6, 2012
This is the third of Vicki Lane's Elizabeth Goodweather mysteries. Like its predecessors, "Signs in the Blood" and "Art's Blood," it's a corker of a whodunit filled with colorful characters and a maze of plot twists that will keep the reader guessing until the very end. The Elizabeth Goodweather Mysteries are set in the mountains of North Carolina, primarily in the Asheville area, and weave a healthy dose of Appalachian color and flavor into the story. In "Old Wounds," Elizabeth, helps her daughter solve the disappearance many years earlier of a childhood friend. All of Ms. Lane's novels are intricately plotted with well-drawn and believable characters. It is truly a shame that they aren't better known, even here in North Carolina.
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on November 14, 2013
Vicki Lane's Elizabeth Goodweather's series is great reading! Full of characters who populate the Applachian mountains where Goodweather has her farm. Old tales, mysteries, curses and cures, backroads that lead homes built generations past. I love the series and highly recommend it to someone looking for a good, good read.
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VINE VOICEon September 20, 2009
OLD WOUNDS by Vicki Lane is the third book in her Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian series and it is not the book to begin unless you have the time to read it through until the end.
Several plots work their way through the narrative and blend one into the other as Elizabeth opens her heart to Philip Hawkins, while her elder daughter Rosemary searches for answers to the disappearance of her childhood friend on Halloween night.
The delicate hand of Ms. Lane leads the reader through segments of the Cherokee culture, while giving readers vivid descriptions of minute visions of fall in the mountains.
An excellent read with a main character who is a pleasure to follow, then it leaves you anticipating the next story, IN A DARK SEASON.
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists WRITING AS A SMALL BUSINESS and HAINTS.
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on February 15, 2009
I have read all of the published Elizabeth Goodweather mysteries by Vicki Lane and not in order. That hasn't hurt my sense of the characters, the setting, or the action. OLD WOUNDS has several ongoing plots, and the way they weave together to make this novel brings hours of enjoyment. Yes, the mystery elements drew me back again and again to resolve finally in the way life really is. All issues are never all resolved; old wounds need air to heal; secrets need the light of revelation. I like Elizabeth Goodweather: she doesn't get the clues as quickly as the reader does, but then she has chickens to feel, gardens to tend, and wreaths to make.
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on July 7, 2007
Vicki Lane has indeed done it again with her newest book, "Old Wounds". It captivates you from the first page and keeps you hanging til the very last paragraph ... not many books do this for me.

Although this is the 3rd book in her series, if you picked this book first you'd totally understand what is going on because she blends everything in so well, but I would highly recommend reading the first two. You won't regret it.

This is a truly gifted writer and one I highly recommend.
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on October 26, 2013
Vicki Lane's stories are set in an area that is my heritage. I love the accuracy of her depictions. Her characters are real and plots believable. This story developed the character of one of her regular characters. If you like Appalachian settings, this is for you.
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on December 4, 2008
I am so impressed with Ms. Lane's style of writing. I am native of the setting in her books, and at first I was hesitant because of the stigma that surrounds rural and appalachian areas. Ms. Lane does a great job of describing a "transplant" lifestyle, while honoring the culture of the appalachian mountains. I hope she continues to write for many years!!!
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VINE VOICEon October 27, 2007
This is a wonderful book, the best of three excellent mysteries set in the mountains of Western North Carolina. But before I praise the book, I want to take issue with the jacket blurbs.

Rapid River Magazine says "Regional mystery lovers, take note. A new heroine has come to town . . . ." (OK, I'm not even going to go there, as my students would say, about the dismissive noun "heroine," dragging, as it does, images of hot-pink covers and bodice-ripping into more respectable genres.) Here's the problem: ***Mystery lovers*** should take note. All mystery lovers. Why categorically limit the future readers of a terrific book? The setting is key, certainly, but if the setting were Paris or the Isle of Skye or even southern California, the book would not be sub-genred as "regional." Mark Mills' The Savage Garden, set between Florence and Siena, should be tagged for "regional mystery lovers" by that objectionable standard.

One rant down, one to go.

Publishers Weekly (of which I would like to have thought better) says: "The widow Goodweather is a wonderful character: plucky, hip, and wise."

pluck·y adj
showing courage and determination, especially in the face of difficulties or superior odds

What this definition leaves out is "gendered." No man is ever called "plucky." The widow Goodweather is brave, hip, and wise.

It's hard to see a good book twice-diminished by its own dust-jacket.

And it is a very good book. The narration is shrewdly done. Most of the novel is the story of Elizabeth Goodweather, whom we have met in two earlier Lane novels. She lives on a farm, selling flowers and herbs and making wreaths from same, having successfully raised two interesting children and keeping a pack of happy dogs. She moved there with her young family and she and her husband built the house and started the farm. The mountain people, Elizabeth's neighbors, are drawn without condescension - real people, not quaint stereotypes. The dialogue is excellent, both with local (OK, regional) expressions and pronunciation. The flash-back narration (that's the stuff in italics, for those reviewers who don't get out much, see below) is well done, even if the shift at the end is less than perfectly smooth.

The two best things here are character and setting. Elizabeth is complicated in interesting ways. We learn much more about her earlier life in this book, and I must say it's a relief to hear that she wasn't always the perfectly green constant reader. Well, she was, really, but she has had some moments of bad judgment, too. As in Margaret Maron's wonderful series set in Eastern NC, we learn about the problems of land usage by both locals and new-comers. Lane doesn't hit quite as hard with social commentary as does Maron - Lane's Mexicans are simply there, not used to make points about the North American work ethic or the economics of immigration - but she does touch on the resentment that local families feel when people with more money than sense or taste take over the hills and hollers of Appalachia. Is there really an essential difference between a cove filled with rotting house trailers and dead appliances and a cove filled with a Tudor mansion and a swimming pool? No.

But Lane isn't a preacher, and she leaves us to come to this conclusion all on our own.

In this book Elizabeth ventures beyond Marshall County as the story takes all of us over the Cherokee, NC, to the Eastern Band's toe-hold on their native land. Having grown up in the area, I know that Lane gets the blend of trash and tradition just right. Weaving the Cherokee and Vietnam sub-plots together is very smart - two bad blots on our culture's history - and Lane accomplishes this with seeming ease.

The suspense at the end is convincing, and if the end comes too soon, we can at least click and pre-order
In a Dark Season
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