New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2012
385 p. : map ; 25 cm ISBN/ISSN:
9780307700957 (hbk.), 030770095X (hbk.), 030770095X :, Language:
Something's wrong in Niceville, where evil lives far longer than men do in a shadow world of disappearances, mysterious robberies, and disastrous events that ricochet across 20 different lives
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This is the first book I've read by Carsten Stroud. I was drawn to the book's front cover where Elmore Leonard was quoted as saying it had "...Terrific dialogue...and...oddball characters..." That was endorsement enough for me.
This epic story has a multitude of characters. So many that readers might want to keep a yellow pad handy to track names. At times it seems that each chapter is introducing yet another person of interest. Their back-stories are presented methodically.
Stroud indeed has a method to his madness. A young boy vanishes in the blink of an eye. A former police officer and a current one commit a brazen bank robbery in broad daylight; killing several brother officers in the process. A retired town matriarch disappears along with her gardener. A missing child is found alive, buried in a grave that has not be disturbed for many years. A former Special-Forces-soldier-turned-police-investigator and his wife possess a mirror that might be the link to several mysterious disappearances over the past century.
Niceville is a town with many secrets. It is a place that is dwarfed by a humongous cliff which keeps much of the town in it's shadow for a good part of the day. There is a surrounding sinkhole that seems to slowly suck the life out of some.
This story is a thriller more than a mystery. If interested in reading more by this author, AHML has four other of his novels: Sniper's Moon, Cuba Strait, Cobraville, and Black Water Transit - which has been adapted to film. It stars Lawrence Fishburne, Carl Urban, and Steven Dorff. Stroud won the Arthur Ellis Award in 1993 for best new Canadian novel: Lizardskin - which is available thru LINKin.
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