Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Redemption by Laurel Dewey. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.
Story Plant (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-9816087-5-2 (0981608752)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9816087-5-4 (9780981608754)
Publication Date: June 2009
List Price: $24.95
Review: Redemption is the second thriller by Laurel Dewey to feature hard drinking, chain smoking, rough talking former Denver police officer, now private investigator, Jane Perry.
Jane has quit the force and is trying to sober up by attending AA meetings. Catching a smoke outside one evening, she comes upon Katherine "Kit" Clark. Kit, a throw-back from the 70s, knows who Jane is, having watched her on Larry King during her investigation of a mass murder a year earlier. Kit, dying of cancer, offers Jane $5000 to find, and prove, that a man recently released from prison on a technicality, Lou Peters, kidnapped, raped, and killed her 14-year-old granddaughter over a decade ago.
It's hard for Jane to be objective here. Her own grandfather was a cruel man, forcing his sons, one of whom was Jane's father, to fight each other until one fell from exhaustion or pain. Jane's father subsequently beat her and her brother. Her self-abuse today, whether from alcohol or tobacco, is a consequence of her own internalized pain. Kit wants Jane to help her break a cycle of abuse, and possibly help herself in the process.
In many ways it's hard to like Jane. Harder still when the language she uses is so vulgar, and really so unnecessary. She's a smart, complex woman but seems to come off as 1-dimensional, or as common as the thugs she used to put away as a cop. The story, which in and of itself is quite intriguing, at times spellbinding, could have been just as suspenseful, just as compelling without Jane cursing at every opportunity. Here is a situation where the author's misguided attempt at authenticity backfires badly, where her characters could, and should, be defined by, and remembered for, their actions and deeds, not by the foul language they use.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Redemption and to The Story Plant for providing a copy of the book for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
If you are interested in purchasing Redemption from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right. Redemption (Kindle edition) is also available. Learn more about the Kindle, Amazon's Wireless Reading Device.
Synopsis (from the publisher): Jane Perry has resigned from the Denver Police Department and is trying to make a living as a private investigator, but she finds her past haunting her at every turn and her old demons rising up to torment her.
Seeking some level of comfort at an AA meeting, Jane encounters a woman who knows what Jane does for a living. The woman wants Jane to drive with her from Colorado to Northern California in search of a man who matches the description of the killer who murdered her granddaughter many years before. She's convinced that the man has started to kill again and she wants to stop him.
Jane thinks the woman is crazy--especially when she discovers that she's a New Age devotee--but Jane is desperate for work. They head on the road, gathering critical information about the killer, and themselves, along the way. Jane has recently experienced several events in her life that seem to border on the paranormal, though she is a complete skeptic in that regard. Now, those experiences come with greater frequency. And when the trail of the killer leads to a fundamentalist church, the consequences of belief and faith propel her toward a deadly confrontation.
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