Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Redemption by Laurel Dewey

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.

Redemption by Laurel Dewey

A Jane Perry Mystery

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

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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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  1. I absolutely disagree with Betty's review of REDEMPTION. Jane Perry is a damaged woman and if you read PROTECTOR, the first in the series, you'd understand WHY she is the way she is.

    I read REDEMPTION and loved it even more than PROTECTOR and I thought PROTECTOR was great! There is so much humanity in Dewey's writing and the story of REDEMPTION is so complex and moving that for Betty to focus just on the language in the book is completely ridiculous! In fact, I didn't think the language was that bad.

    I was in tears by the end of REDEMPTION and can't wait for the book in the Jane Perry series. Readers LOVE Laurel Dewey. Remember that!!

  2. I think you misunderstood the point of Betty's review. The stories are terrific and agrees with you that the plot of Redemption is complex and moving. She simply objects to the language the character uses. Some readers are offended by abundant obscene language in books and I'm grateful that reviewers like Betty point this out.

  3. I'm a female police detective who works in homicide with a bunch of men. I read both Redemption and Protector and I can tell you that the language in the books pales in comparison to the stuff I hear on a daily basis. I, too, think that the reviewer is not giving readers enough of an overview of the story and focusing too much on the main character's "foul" langauge. The book is gripping and a page turner and one that I've already recommended to a few friends.

    Also, one mistake by the reviewer. In the book, Kit Clark gives Jane five thousand dollars, not five MILLION.

  4. Thanks, Carol, for the correction. It was an error of mine in formatting Betty's review for our site.

  5. Why isn't anyone mentioning the strong mystical element in Redemption? I've read several reviews and no one ever talks about it. I found the story mesmerizing and the language didn't bother me a bit. I like stories with strong female characters and page turning stories and Redemption certainly fit that bill. I encourage anyone who likes similar stories to give this one a read.

  6. I got wrapped up in Redemption from the first page and now that I've finished the book, can't remember being offended in the least by profanity. I'm sure that as I was reading, the language fit the character and let's face it, Jane Perry is one tough babe and you wouldn't expect her to talk like a kindergarten teacher.
    I recommend Dewey's second novel most highly; it's a great read!



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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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