"Tide Water Talisman", the eighth book in Glynn Marsh Alam's mystery series featuring Luanne Fogarty, takes the reader on a wild and pleasurable ride to another part of the north Florida coastal country she knows so well.
The intriguing premise builds on the real life disaster brought to the Gulf by Hurricane Katrina. Years later we find a disparate group of survivors who have figuratively washed ashore on the coast of north Florida like so much flotsam and jetsam and started new lives after their previous homes and jobs were destroyed by the hurricane. These resourceful folks have established small businesses that figure into the evolving mystery that draws Luanne and her colleagues into the new little community.
As readers of Alam's earlier books know, Luanne Fogarty is a linguistics professor who also serves as an adjunct scuba diver (and, increasingly, as an intuitively skilled investigator) assisting the Sheriff's Department as needed. Her enjoyable band of friends and colleagues include people of the swamp country like the irascible Pasquin and Mama, who runs a local seafood restaurant, and people of county law enforcement including her lover Vernon and their boss the very uptight Tony.
The newer arrivals to the growing little community of Ciel ("Heaven" -- a nice touch) have mysteries of their own to reveal, as bodies continue to show up in the area and murder is definately afoot. The question of whether these deaths are related keeps the reader involved in the story while enjoying the sport of guessing which of the residents may be a murderer: the junk store owner, the hardworking proprietess of a new restaurant, the convenience store owner, or the ethereal operator of a new agey spiritualistic shop and a psychic reader who works there, as well as other residents who are wrestling demons -- both real and imagined -- and harboring secrets and deceptions of their own. Luanne immerses herself in this little community much as an anthropologist must to to learn the secrets that are being kept.
Alam has a skillful ability to take the reader to interesting settings that are so fully imagined one can almost feel the sweat of being near the Florida rivers and swamps and taste the fresh seafood that is dished up. The establishment of a community of survivors from different backgrounds forging new lives in a new place and becoming interdependent upon each other (and perhaps preying on each other) is especially engaging. This "Talisman" certainly does work its charms on the reader.
Glynn Marsh Alam's TIDE WATER TALISMAN is number eight in her series of Luanne Fogarty mysteries. Ms. Alam continues to enthrall her growing list of fans as word-of-mouth spreads about this exceptional group of stories for both the story line and fine prose. Luanne, Pasquin, and Mama from Mama's Table set out down river to help Kayleen Romaine, a refugee from Hurricane Katrina, open a new eating establishment. Shrimp and Cheverette is an off sounding name as it translates from Cajun to Shrimp and Shrimp, but the name is Kayleen's decision. A dilapidated motel at the Ciel (a refugee camp) isn't the finest, but it is on the water. In the path of the next big storm, it is a place to call home for people with no other choice. Muder awaits them in a complex trail of love and motives that will keep you reading until the last page. Explore a new world at the hands of a master. Nash Black, author of Indie finalists WRITING AS A SMALL BUSINESS and HAINTS.
I enjoy this series very much but have been distracted in the past by the poor page setups and errors that occurred in the Kindle format. The problems seemed to have been fixed after the first few books, but in this installment there are a few problems again and it is a bit irritating. The book is another wonderful Luanne Fogarty story, with wonderfully drawn characters and the great sense of locale that these books are known for.
I'm not much for reviewing books, however, Glynn Marsh Alam is a wonderful writer. I have been reading this series since the beginning and she paints pictures with her words. I love the characters, the locale and the mysteries. I highly recommend all of her books!