Friday, July 28, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Crooked Lake by Nelson Brunanski

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Crooked Lake by Nelson Brunanski. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Crooked Lake by Nelson Brunanski

Crooked Lake by Nelson Brunanski
A Small-Town Saskatchewan Mystery
Caronel Publishing (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-9739121-0-3 (0973912103)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9739121-0-4 (9780973912104)
Publication Date: February 2006
List Price: $16.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): When a man is murdered on the shores of Crooked Lake, easy-going Bart Bartowski sets aside work at his fly-in-fishing lodge to come to the aid of his childhood friend who’s been accused of the crime. Tempted by a beautiful young cottager and beguiled by the murdered man’s wife, Bart is dogged by RCMP detectives who want him to stay out of what they consider an open and shut case.

In his perilous pursuit of whodunit, Bart reveals the heart of a small town, taking a stab at its complacency and laying bare some of its juiciest moral dilemmas.

Review: Crooked Lake, Nelson Brunanski's first novel featuring Bart Bartowski and subtitled a small-town Saskatchewan mystery, has a genuine northern Canadian folksy appeal to it. The relatively remote locale works well as a village mystery where everyone knows everyone else yet someone still has secrets to hide.

Bart sets out to prove his friend Nick Taylor didn't use his 7 iron to murder the local land baron on the golf course where Nick worked as a greens keeper. As Bart wanders the countryside in search of clues to prove Nick's innocence, the story tends to wander with him, seeming to lose its way a few times. From a plot perspective, it's a little too convenient for Bart that the RCMP apparently have little interest in pursuing this case despite the circumstantial evidence against Nick. Bart is allowed to ask questions the officials should have posed in the first place, and then piece it all together in the end to unmask the real killer.

Nelson Brunanski's casual style of writing, with true sounding dialog and descriptive narrative, works well for both the characters and the setting. Crooked Lake would seem to be a fine debut to this new mystery series set in Saskatchewan.

Special thanks to Caronel Publishing for providing a copy of Crooked Lake for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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