The Disappearance of Billy Moore (Green Marble Mysteries, featuring Sam Moore Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 258 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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The writing was solid, but the story kind of meanders through a lot of information that doesn't seem entirely relevant to the plot. There's lots of gardening, flashbacks to boyhood, and though the setup for the surprise ending leaves a lot of room for guessing, there's a bit of lost tension because of the meandering. Although it didn't add a whole lot to the story, I did enjoy the supernatural marble element. Overall, it was a nice read, so four stars.
I read Tremolo's Cry of the Loon just before this story. There was a past innocence with it and adolescent coming of age that I was sure would just be repeated in Healey's Cave. In a way it was in the "flashbacks" that were an integral part of the story but it was in support of what was happening today. It instilled in the reader a bittersweet ache for times gone by that is shared by the protagonist. The author writes in a way that coaxes out memories, feelings and an association with times gone by that I have not found any other author able to accomplish with such perfection.
The darkness in this book is a bit darker than the young Gus series but I believe that it would not offend the lovers of cozy style wrting. I look forward to reading more "Moore" mysteries in Terror Comes Knocking and For Keeps to be released in 2012 and will now go to the next Lazar book waiting in the wings on my kindle. His writing is so satisfying I plan on reading all his books available on my kindle before switching to another author.
Mr. Lazar, I also look forward to Double Forte and Upstaged to come to kindle from the LeGarde series.
Also, BTW, I also would like you or Sam to come for a visit to help with my garden. Please call!!
Niama Leslie JoAnn Williams, Ph.D.
Copyright April 2013
"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"
and boo radley
The manipulation of souls is a dangerous thing. Those who do so to rob, steal, or erase innocence are frequently portrayed as monsters. Current cynical wisdom, unfortunately due to the advances of psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis, and all of the generous wisdom, flawed or erred though it may have been, that Jung and Freud created with their fecund seeds of brilliance give us cynical television cops postulating that such and such monster really should not get off because, scoffing they say, "oh, was he abused too? Yeah, right."
The manipulation of souls is a dangerous thing, and those who do so to rob, steal, or mar innocence know exactly the price they pay. They are very aware of which pieces of soul they sacrifice to an unearthly force quite at home with the diabolical.
Though I am convinced that Lucifer did not fall from avarice, arrogance, and conceit; I prefer the larger tale my own Heavenly Father's Spirit speaks into my ear: Lucifer had to be convinced to take the job, and when he realized its full extent, he was first horrified, and then very, very alone.
In reality, no one wants to be the bad guy. Denzel is not happier now. I think he misses the early days of unrelenting rightness; he has had to play woolly-headed Negro villain opposite the innocent, must bring him in John Wayning young white boy. He must be looking back, saying "what the hell have I done?"
It is the manipulation of souls that is so dangerous, and we who have been manipulated and robbed as children bear scars that never, ever heal. We can make choices about loving; whom to love, when, how, if ever; but we always fight the scars, the defenses that gave us the pretense of safe, the throwing up in the face of unwanted kiss, the clenching of thighs at an unwanted dick, the desperate and run upon hearing the unwanted, unsought footsteps before our doors.
We are manipulated and robbed because we are children who know, at bottom, at base, that we must yield or delicate balances will fly apart and families will disintegrate, mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers will finally lift the sawed off and shoot, Child Protective Services will come and take the refuse, us, or the coroner will examine the bodies and determine cause of death with a weary, beleaguered, possibly beery eye.
We are manipulated and robbed of our innocence, of our fight, of the right to tension when threatened; oh, we learn an unnatural calm early, those of us who truly survive, and we become exceptional in emergencies. Broken arms are nothing to us; blood sugars of 458; we have survived far worse and recounted, sanely and calm, without crying, to the paramedics. We know more about medical conditions and cures than seasoned physicians. We know what palliatives to apply because, insanely, we are committed to living.
Where that desire to live and be and have hope comes from some would say is God, God within; some would say is an aspect of themselves they wish they could siphon off and cast away so death's peace could come and remain lasting. I have sought that peace repeatedly and been denied it by the Maker I love so dearly.
Yet I write tonight of those who manipulate souls for us, for the wounded, to tell our stories, change legislation, mend spirits and fight for our right to heal. Aaron Lazar is such a man; a just, fair, loving father and grandfather who writes of the abused, the cast aside, the unloved, the tortured in the midst of upstate New York gardens that explode in healing foliage even when his characters cuss knotweed gone wild. Aaron Lazar's Sam Moore (HEALEY'S CAVE) is a retired physician when we first meet him, acclimating to not having to go to the office one more day; accommodating to the thrill of every morning with his land, his gardens, his orchards and fields and variety of flowers and plants and herbs of which I rapidly lost count.
I do not possess that gifted knowledge of plant life; of names and seasons to sow and reap; I am fumble fingers in the garden, but my reproductive organs know the earth, and they yearn for that knowledge. I feel the yearning as I read of Sam Moore's determination to hem in and plant and rip weeds and stoke vegetative life on his land.
They are fields his son and daughter have traveled and rambled and left; his grandsons now come to visit, and the toddler loves the tractor as the teenager loves a tough game of Frisbee.
But for Sam it is his gardens, his fields, and every day with the rototiller, beating back the exasperating knotweed. There is a serial killer, and there is the constant ache of his missing brother, believed dead but hoped not; and there is Rachel, wheelchair bound yet still the passionate love of his life. It is the repeated whispering of his lips on her cheek, her face, her hair, her brow that tell of a marital passion not at all ceased by the advance of multiple sclerosis within her body. Their love is present, fresh, stable and vibrant--wheelchair and MS attacks and all.
And when we find out who the serial killer is, and yes, we are surprised, and we understand that he was long abused as was the Healey of the title, long suspected murderer of the treasured lost brother, we learn another perception of Sam Moore by outsiders: that he was loved, preferred, idolized--everyone wanted to be HIS best friend, and all were turned down for his brother. And some hated him for that. Hated his brother too.
Yet the killer and the abusive neighbor are shown, unlike the beliefs of the cynical cops of modern-day detective shows, to have their own heart-ripping histories of personal terror, personal terrors and just grievances so magnificent and permanently scarring as to indeed justify their shambled lives. They have made the wrong turn and abandoned all hope because the terror was too great, and no light shown in the midst of it, yielding or manifesting grace. With no light in the midst of the terror, no relenting from the terror for a space of normalcy, these wounded children become, yes, monsters; their minds warping and the souls calcifying.
Thus the manipulation of souls is not only dangerous, but the manipulation of the souls of the young innocent is unforgiveable. Because the warp is permanent. No scab falls away from that wound; the scar lives until death and counts for justice throughout centuries and lifetimes.
The manipulation of souls is dangerous. Ask Huck, whose entire family, a particular type of family, was murdered in an episode of Shonda Rimes' SCANDAL I almost could not bear to watch.
Because the rage was familiar. Intimate and striking. Designed to murder the soul and almost, we shall see, almost succeeds.
The manipulation of souls is dangerous. Watch for it with cell phone in hand. Call 9-1-1 whenever you witness or suspect it. Some innocents cannot bear the relentless terror; some need a glimpse of light to keep breathing on the right side of the veil.
Pray for Huck and dive into the books of Aaron Lazar. He paints men who love their women flawed and all; hurt and all; witness Gus and Camille in one of my favorites, Mazurka. His men are gentle and soft and will kill or strike if necessary. One of my most favorite scenes in Mazurka is Gus and Camille fleeing behind a waterfall. Lazar is masterful as a mystery writer because he can be calm and bucolic about knotweed one minute and have his hero fighting off an FBI agent the next.
The manipulation of souls. Watch for it. Cause the devil is busy, and I pray, oh how I pray, for his happy return to heaven and the end of his agreed upon duty in hell.
I loved this book and encouraged my son to read it. I'm happy to give it 5 stars.
There is someone else whose presence is disturbingly real and who wants nothing more than to cause pain - pain as horrible as his own suffering. And Sam needs to find him, and stop him, before it is too late.
Through all the heartache and sadness, Sam is kept sane by the love of his family - each and every one of them - and by loving them all.
This love is where it all starts for Aaron Paul Lazar. Everything is built on it, and in the end, it is all that counts.