- Series: Paris Murphy Mysteries
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (May 5, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399152903
- ISBN-13: 978-0399152900
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,978,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dark House (Paris Murphy Mysteries) Hardcover – May 5, 2005
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Detective Paris Murphy is back in her Twin Cities precinct for the third time (Clean Cut, Cold Blood), but if her husband has her way, it won't be for long; he's pressuring her to move to Arizona, where he's been offered a new job, and if she doesnt agree, it's likely to mean the end of her marriage. She's almost ready to agree when clues to a bar killing in a north country backwater in the ice-locked Iron Range point to a couple of suspects who may be headed her way--a female university professor who's a colleague of Paris's father-in-law, and a young man never prosecuted for the shooting death of his own father in a hunting accident. "Catch" Clancy might be Serene Ransom's lover, her hostage, or her partner in crime--or maybe, as Paris surmises, all three. While Paris is pondering her own emotional stability, it's a lot stronger than Serene's; the no longer young but still beautiful academic is about to be fired for inappropriate relationships with her male students. But it's her strange hold on the bartender whose attempts to save her from a late night assault by a gun-toting snowmobiler who forced his way into the bar just as Clancy was closing up, along with her subsequent descent into madness, that is portrayed in chilling detail. He manages to win the reader's sympathy despite his role in Serene's murderous activities, but there's no way it can end well for him, even if by the last page Paris manages to resolve her own dilemma, at least until her next outing in Monsour's series. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
The third in Monsour's series featuring St. Paul, Minn., homicide detective Sgt. Paris Murphy (after 2004's Cold Blood) again proves the author's ability to craft characters whose deep creepiness is slowly, lovingly revealed. English professor Serene Ransom is nursing a late-night drink and musing on the sexual possibilities of hunky young bartender Enda "Catch" Clancy at a bar in the icy Iron Range area of northeastern Minnesota, when a robbery interrupts her thoughts. After a little back and forth, Catch and Serene both shoot the would-be robber with their respective firearms. They can't go to the cops, Catch says, so he pulls up his minimal stakes and after ditching the body they head to Serene's cat-infested St. Paul apartment. They spend their days having sex, pausing only for Catch to kick a few cats and eat sandwiches and Serene to recite a little poetry. Meanwhile, Paris is spending time with her husband, Jack, trying to repair their tattered marriage. Marital difficulties plus her father's heart problems keep distracting her from a new case involving the two missing Iron Range men—the dead robber and Catch. The rest of the book is taken up with Paris and her partner, Max Castro, stalking Catch and Serene, both of whom are more crazy than evil, caught in an intertwined, tragic, downward spiral that they are unable to either halt or alter.
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After reading this book, I believe that Monsour is a very good writer. This book was very well crafted. She mainly writes in very short sentences and fragments, similar to the way Lee Child does. This style makes her work highly readable, but it does get annoying after a while, especially when she describes highly mundane activities in great detail (see one of the reviews below for a funny example of this style).
The major downside of the book was the plot. There is absolutely no mystery in this book at all. The reader knows exactly who the "killers" are. The lead character is never in any real danger, so there is also zero suspense. The villains of this book are so dysfunctional that they comes across as more pitiful than dangerous.
This book, in some ways, reminded me of the movie FARGO, which was more of a dark comedy than a crime thriller. If you're in the mood for that type of experience, then I recommend this book. But if you're looking for thrills, then I would skip this one.
He is a bartender with a violent streak, suicidal tendencies and a terrible secret. He used to be a terrific hockey player though.
She is an Associate Professor of English Lit. at the state university with impeccable credentials from Princeton and a few publications under her belt, notably "Romance or Reality? How The Divided Soul Pains the New Prometheus." Well, I don't know much about the divided soul...but Serene Ransom, a.k.a. "Pink Lady," is acquainted with the divided self. Oh...and she also prefers her men young - very young.
"Catch," a.k.a. Enda Clancy, is young and Greek god handsome, although he is not Prometheus nor is he as young as Serene usually prefers her boys. However, he has been known to gravitate toward older women. So...it's a match made in heaven - or hell!
The two meet late one night in Maggie's Red Door, the bar Catch tends, located in Northeastern Minnesota's Iron Range. When a drunk snowmobiler with a police record decides to cause a bit of excitement as the joint is closing, he gets more than he bargains for. Before Catch locks up for the evening, he and his new girlfriend, (with a penchant for pink, cats and S & M), commit murder, conspire to conceal both the body and the evidence, clean up, clear out the cash register, claim the shotgun under the bar and takeoff for the Twin Cities. This is obviously just the beginning of their spree.
Detective Paris Murphy of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area Police Department gets the case. This is Detective Murphy's third appearance in a Theresa Monsour police procedural and my introduction to the intelligent, feisty, part Irish, part Lebanese law officer. Paris is a more complex character than most female protagonists in series novels. There is more to her than the same old "tough but vulnerable" facade. I am definitely planning to read books one and two, ("Clean Cut" and "Cold Blood").
Not only am I taken with this three-dimensional take charge lady, but I like her husband, family, colleagues, boss and problematic love life. The dialogue is realistic, the plot is gritty and fast paced - some nice twists. Ms. Monsour, an award-winning journalist for a St. Paul newspaper, gives us a vivid look inside the heads of two totally wacko individuals, one a serial killer - and the view is chilling. The writing is quite good! What's not to like??
Ransom's boy toy observes her through a musk of male hormones, and in Monsour's inimitable noir style, the sentences get so excited they lose their particles and articles: "Eyes the color of blue Popsicles. Lips that looked swollen and chewed on. Vanilla ice-cream skin." You can tell she's sort of a cold person.
Not so Paris Murphy, who goes to a chiropractor halfway through the case and gets the massage of her life! Paris is a little bit like her namesake, Paris Hilton, always ready for a tumble. "Can you loosen your jeans?" murmurs the chiropractor guy. "I need to reach that lower-back area that's been bothering you." Note: she's undercover and doesn't really have any back problems. It's just a ruse to get her undressed. The tension between the two stories drives Monsour's third novel to a rackety finish. If only Demi Moore would consent to play Paris Murphy, and for Ransom, the producers should hire Uma Thurman.
I really liked the villains. I think she did a great job w/ these characters. It's the other characters I have a problem w/....
I just cannot stand the heroine, Paris Murphy. She isn't the least bit likable in my opinion. She is almost as bad as Lucy - Kay Scarpetta's niece in Patricia's Cornwell's books. Also, I don't care for the husband's character. All he says is babe this or babe that & if he's not saying that, he is saying F-ing this or F-ing that. He is suppose to be a brilliant surgeon, but sounds like an idiot. The ending w/ Duncan just makes me think in her next bk. I'll have to read about another affair w/ a coworker.
There is no mystery in this book, so if you are looking for mystery this isn't the book for you. I'd recommend going to the library if you want to read her books.