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Murder and an Extinction Level Event
on October 9, 2016
Low-key, thoughtful tale of a new detective who decides an apparent suicide by hanging is really a murder, and goes to amazing lengths to prove it. So what, you say, because this plot point has been done to death--pun perhaps intended.
Because suicides by hanging are a common occurrence these days, occasioned by the date certain--October 9--that a large asteroid will strike the earth. Why bother with a possible murder when there are less than six months left? Why care about the dead man, and what led to his demise when the looming demise of everyone is a guarantee?
I thought Detective Henry Palace's often insightful and frequently bumbling efforts to solve this case, and the interesting fallout from it, are what sets this story apart from other "police procedurals." The supporting cast of almost-impossible-to-categorize folks is stocked with fully realized individuals, all of them metaphorically--or really--glancing at the sky perhaps without realizing it. The tension is there, whether in Palace's determination to find a killer or in how everyone in a grim and depleted Concord, NH is managing to cope with the extinction level event. The writing is clear, competent, and unobtrusive, letting the story unwind naturally without any of the usual literary stumbling blocks.
And just so you know, this is the first in a trilogy. I usually flee screaming from any series--other than Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter--but when I finished this book last night, I downloaded the remaining volumes. I adore ginormous natural disasters, and can't wait to see how this one plays out.