Saturday, April 19, 2014


Lorca, Victoria and Blot, three damaged people, populate this novel that touches on Iraq, cutting and drug addiction leavened by lies, secrets and poor parenting.  Ultimately hopeful, the book drags a bit after many chapters of discouraged, depressed people.  I was happy to see the end. 

The three main characters, Lorca’s mother and Victoria’s “best friend” Dottie are all clearly drawn. Each is likeable except for Lorca’s mother who is clearly the villain. Joseph, the only other character, is not so well developed and plays an important, though minor, role.

Cutting and food are also main characters.  I learned much about the whys of cutting, coming away with a very sympathetic and empathetic view of those who suffer from this scary disease.   Food offers the much needed lightness.  Iraqi dishes are presented and prepared by Lorca and Victoria. One recipe is given. I would have liked to have others – the descriptions had my mouth watering!

Because I feel the book is too long, only 3 of 5 stars.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


I enjoyed the writing which was clear and moving. The descriptions of the island were wonderful, not just the physical beauty but the smells of food, people and nature.  I felt like I really knew the characters.  I hope the final edition has a “cast of characters” as it was difficult to keep the various families and generations straight, especially as they were seemingly unrelated as the narrative moved from generation to generation and Sinhala to Tamil and back again.  I learned a vast amount about the Sri Lankan history of civil violence. 

Book groups will find themselves discussing discrimination, arranged marriage, ethnic differences, education, parental desires for their children, the life of the immigrant in a new land, jealousy between siblings, soldier versus terrorist, the effect of violence on people and culture, and the sense of smell. Some groups may find the descriptions of sexuality (including violent rape) disturbing.   
4 of 5 stars

Monday, April 7, 2014

MERCY FALLS by William Kent Krueger

MERCY FALLS is the 5th in the Cork O’Connor series of mystery/thrillers written by William Kent Krueger.  The author’s descriptions of the North Woods area of Minnesota are excellent and add greatly to the story giving it a sense of place usually lacking in this genre.  Krueger is also careful to detail his characters as real, living, breathing persons instead of the stereotypes and stock characters so often found in mysteries.  The tempo and pacing of the novel give the reader (and the characters) a chance to breathe after thrilling and terrorizing scenes.  I liked the way reservation life was detailed – accurate but not condescending or demeaning. In short, Krueger is an excellent writer with an engaging and compelling story.
So, why am I only giving this book 3 stars.  Because of the loose ends!  One of the main “mysteries” isn’t solved!  Is this the first of a series inside a series? Does the next book (Copper River) answer the questions that are left dangling?  Are we never to know the answers?  I am bummed!  If there had been a “read the next book” epilogue I would be happier. Instead I feel FORCED to buy and read the next book hoping to find answers that may or may not be there.
3 of 5 stars