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Showing posts from May 12, 2010

The Tangled Messes We Weave...

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"Desperate times call for desperate measures." We're all familiar with the saying, and most of us probably agree with the sentiment, to a greater or lesser extent. But what, precisely, qualifies as "desperate times"? And, even more importantly, what "desperate measures" do we find acceptable? Such questions--and eventually a few answers--lie at the very heart of brilliant Scottish crime novelist Val McDermid's A Darker Domain, a wonderfully-complex and gripping psychological tale of love, loss, friendship, politics--and a great deal of desperation, which ultimately serves to provide the motivation behind so many unhappy outcomes. The story centers around a small Scottish police force's Cold Case team, as new evidence in one very "cold" case (going back more than 20 years) comes to light, and another, "new" case (also 20-odd years old) is reported for the first time. The lead detective in charge of the CC team, Detective Inspe…

Classic Gothic Tale Done Right

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It seems highly likely that Deanna Raybourn grew up on a steady diet of those deliciously-atmospheric gothic novels... the ones peopled by intelligent young heroines--hampered only by the (mis)fortune of their sex; dark, brooding, mysterious men (not-quite heroes, but fantastically appealing, nonetheless); and a certain number of crazed (whether caused by a chance of birth, serious illness, or being forced to endure one too many personal/emotional traumas) characters; all of whom can be seen, by turns, milling or skulking about one stately manor house or another (which are always replete, naturally, with a surfeit of dark, draughty corners and a multitude of well-hidden secrets), or scurrying along busy city sidewalks with some stealthy plan in mind. Yes, I think such novels must have been akin to mother’s milk for the supremely-talented Ms. Raybourn, since favorable comparisons to the like seem inevitably to spring to mind when reading her books.  Raybourn’s suspenseful series introdu…