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Signs in the Blood Mass Market Paperback – May 31, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fundamentalist Christian snake handlers and liberal back-to-the-landers; a secretive white supremacist militia and undercover police agents; simple rural mountain dwellers and sophisticated urban artists—throw in a counterculture commune of allegedly extraterrestrial origin and that still wouldn't cover all the disparate types who populate the Appalachian community of Ridley Branch, N.C., the setting for this well-crafted, dramatic tale of murder, miracles and midlife romance. Widow Elizabeth Goodweather, the 52-year-old proprietor of an herb and flower farm, becomes dangerously involved in a homegrown investigation when a housebound elderly neighbor refuses to accept the official verdict that her retarded yet woods-savvy son's death was accidental. Evocative detail brings the supporting characters vividly to life, as the plot moves between the mountain man's killing and an unsolved historical mystery that appears to eerily mirror the murderous modern scenario. Also admirable is the sensitivity with which Lane utilizes exotic religions to intensify the book's dark-toned suspense, while resisting oversimplification and insult. Her heroine's open-minded fascination with beliefs not her own should appeal to an unusually wide readership. (June)
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Review

"[A] well-crafted, dramatic tale of murder, miracles and midlife romance..... Lane utilizes exotic religions to intensify the book’s dark-toned suspense, while resisting oversimplification and insult. Her heroine’s open-minded fascination with beliefs not her own should appeal to an unusually wide readership."--Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (May 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440242088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440242086
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,064,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Vicki Lane is a master storyteller!
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A charming trip into the mountains of North Carolina and the strange people one might find there...not to mention a murder mystery par excellence! The leading character, Elizabeth, is so life-like that we get to know her and like her immediately. Let's hope she is only beginning her adventures in the mountains. Placing the story in this environment lends itself to a much different tone than the hard-boiled types you find in most such novels, thus the title for this review. IF you find yourself attracted to this idea I say buy it without question!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ms. Lane has out done herself yet again. Her Signs in the Blood was spell binding. I couldn't stop reading it. Ms.Lane has the ability to weave two separate stories into one. I couldn't wait to see how both of them ended. One was in the present and one was more a hundred years old. Yet they were woven into one fascinating story. Thank you Ms.Lane for another top rated read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Vicki Lane is a master storyteller who paints a stunningly vivid picture of the people and of the amazing geography that is Appalachia. Prepare to be amazed, because Vicki Lane's hauntingly fluid novel does exactly that and much more.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a marvelous story with vividly drawn characters in a vivid Appalachian landscape. Lane's stories are so well crafted, moving forward with the velocity of a mountain stream, leaving one holding his/her breath. A great story beautifully written.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Appalachian literature, a story within a story: modern-day Elizabeth is helping a neighbor try to figure out what happened to her son, while the memory of Sylvie, who once lived where Elizabeth lives, still clings to the landscape and the people who remember her. This technique helps convey the evolution of Appalachia from then to now.

At first glance, the meandering descriptions and plot could appear to be the mistake of an amateur writer, which Ms. Lane was at the time of publication. The book starts slowly, with an overload of information that winds up being an illusionist's trick to redirect attention. As the story progresses, the writing style begins to multi-task (and, honestly, I'm impressed by the delivery). The story-telling mimics the shape of Appalachia, wandering about much like our creeks and roads, slowing one down to a pace more suited for this neck of the woods. The language and sentence structure is reminiscent of the mountain ballads - the old, dark ballads that ain't afraid to show some spilled blood. That's a clue about the whammy of an ending for little Sylvie's story but one I completely ignored because the modern-murders themselves are covered in the way that reminded me of a cozy mystery - brief and at a distance, no one has to clean up the blood. So when we find out what Mr. Tomlin did to poor little Sylvie...it's a hard punch in the guts to see the matter laid out in plain sight and, when paralleled with the criminal activities that Elizabeth sees unfold, hints at a fear that is still present and active in the world today (and may be happening to some of the unmentioned victims of the story's modern crime, if one thinks about what could happen next, after this particular crime is committed - which sends shivers down the spine).
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Cozy mystery readers should not be put off by the title; this is not a gory story, but rather an engaging trip deep into Appalachia. Vicki Lane has created a genuinely likeable, down-to-earth protaganist, and a host of interesting suspects in this yarn. I'm ready for her next one.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love the blue ridge mountains, and I love a good mystery. Vicki Lane's book didn't disappoint me in either area. She kept up the tension, the story was compelling, and her ability to set the reader right there in the mountains was delightful. I can't wait to read her next book!

Chrissy K. McVay

Little Switzerland, NC
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