Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Run a Crooked Mile by Janet LaPierre

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Run a Crooked Mile by Janet LaPierre. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Run a Crooked Mile by Janet LaPierre

A Rosemary Mendes Mystery

Perseverance Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-880284-88-X (188028488X)
ISBN-13: 978-1-880284-88-9 (9781880284889)
Publication Date: April 2009
List Price: $14.95

Review: Janet LaPierre introduces Rosemary Mendes, a woman looking to start a new life in the wooded hills of northern California following the death of her husband, in Run a Crooked Mile.

Two women have actually come to the area to find refuge from their past. Rosemary feels the need to retreat from her overbearing, greedy in-laws who insist they are entited to a part of their deceased son's / brother's estate. The other, Michelle "Mike" Morgan, though, is enigma to the community. She, together with her Labrador retriever Tank, lived in a small cabin surrounded by abundant acreage in the woods that she had inherited from an elderly gentleman for whom she had taken care since her arrival. Though hunting was not permitted on her property, she is shot by a hunter presumably mistaking her for a deer. Some of the townsfolk thought she got what she deserved as they believed she had cheated the old man in his dying days. Others questioned the accident theory and believed someone had wanted her dead. Although Rosemary and Mike were strangers to one another, Rosemary is given "custody" of Tank at the request of the local veterinarian. Rosemary, intrigued by the mysterious circumstances surrounding Mike's death and feeling in no small part an obligation to Tank, starts to investigate. She convinces the police to reopen the case and goes along to help find clues that may have been missed. But someone is out there watching -- and waiting -- for an opportunity to silence Rosemary.

Run a Crooked Mile is not only a carefully plotted and suspenseful mystery, it is also a beautifully told account of two passionate women and their struggle to find peace after personal misfortune. Though they never met, both women are able to share the love and companionship of the delightful dog Tank. Every page of this wonderful book is a page well read.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Run a Crooked Mile and to Perseverance Press for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): After her husband's death, Rosemary Mendes flees her home on the California north coast and fetches up, more or less by accident, near the small town of Weaverville in Trinity County. There she buys and remodels a small house, becomes a volunteer at the local senior center, makes a few friends. And is keeping herself and her background quietly and peacefully to herself when she finds that her grasping former in-laws have tracked her down.

She's still trying to decide what to do about this unpleasant development when her young neighbor informs her that another solitary incomer had just been found dead in the surrounding forest, apparently shot by a deer hunter. "Anyway, the interesting thing... nobody knows who to tell, who her relatives are, like that. She's—she was—a mystery woman." Just like Rosemary, was clearly Kim's inference.

The image of that woman, Michelle called Mike, haunts Rosemary's thoughts for the rest of the day. When her veterinarian friend Graham Campbell arrives that evening for their usual Friday-night dinner, he brings not only wine, but a big yellow Labrador retriever named Tank. Tank, he explains to Rosemary, was with his owner, Mike Morgan, when she was shot, and was grazed himself. And now he's depressed and homeless. "Gray, I do not want a dog," says Rosemary firmly.

But not firmly enough. Tank stays, and Rosemary becomes known as the person who has Mike Morgan's dog. Tales of the dead woman come to her from nearly everyone she encounters, and she finds herself pursuing them: who was Mike Morgan and why was she here? It's a pursuit that becomes more and more engrossing—and more and more dangerous.

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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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