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The Art of Breathing: a crime mystery set in Scarborough (Scarborough Mysteries) (Volume 3) Paperback – October 14, 2016
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About the Author
Kate Evans is a writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Her book, Pathways Through Writing Blocks in the Academic Environment, was published by Sense Publishers in 2013. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Sussex University and teaches on the Degree in Creative Writing at the University of Hull, Scarborough campus. She is trained as a psychotherapeutic counsellor. She loves walking by the sea and afternoon tea.
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Top Customer Reviews
When I read The Art of the Imperfect, I remember thinking that the novel read more like literary fiction (or even an extended prose poem) than a typical crime novel. While I enjoyed the gorgeous language, I found it difficult to keep track of the details at times. In The Art of Breathing, Evans has struck the perfect balance between poetic language and crime fiction. The novel includes the time-honored tropes of the crime genre, but the writing itself retains that beautiful, lilting character that sets Evans’s work apart. As someone who doesn’t always like the gritty/punchy feel of crime novels, Evans’ style is perfect for me.
Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that the plot is complete, intriguing, and comes with a few little twists (one of them is just … brilliant). However, even with a strong plot, I believe that the characters are the true jewel of The Art of Breathing. They are well-crafted and complex, and (as I’ll discuss below) serve as fantastic vehicles for Evans to explore important social themes. Where Evans’ character creation is particularly strong is their versatility – at times, they can be difficult to like (especially Hannah, with her self-destructive thoughts and behaviors), but they also elicit waves of empathy from the reader. A difficult task for a writer to accomplish.
In my own writing, I place a great deal of importance on examining social issues, so I really enjoy novels with strong thematic weight. The Art of Breathing, Evans manages to display both sides of several dark themes (sexual assault, adultery, murder, etc.) in a way that makes the reader question previously held assumptions. Her characters provide riveting case studies of mental health and social concerns (depression, PTSD, homophobia, racism, etc.), and after spending the novel with them, I truly felt like I came away with a better understanding of how people facing these issues live. That’s the power of great fiction – it deepens your perspective on reality and allows you to live other lives.
The Art of Breathing (and the rest of the Scarborough Mysteries series) isn’t your cookie-cutter crime fiction. It’s a study of human character, an examination of Western society, and a beautiful tribute to language … all wrapped up in a murder mystery. Strongly recommended for literary fiction readers who want a gentle entrance into crime fiction, and crime readers who are looking for a refreshing take on the genre.