Reading week in review October 1-7
Sulfur Springs by William Kent Krueger is the first title I’ve read, or in this case listened to, by this author. While it is the 16th in the series I had no problems reading it as a standalone.
The story follows Cork O’Conner and his new wife Rainy as they depart Minnesota for Arizona to prove that Rainey’s son Peter is both still alive and that he didn’t kill anyone. Rainy had received a garbled message form her son saying something about killed and a man’s name Rodriguez. Once Rainy and Cork reach Arizona Rainy soon discovers that she might not have known her son as well as she thought she did. He had left the job she thought he still had, he is not at any known address and appears to have indeed disappeared off the face of the earth. As Cork and Rainy try and track him down they are quickly exposed to the underbelly that exists in Coronado County. Their rental is blown up and they soon learn about the drug smuggling and trafficking in illegal immigrants going on in the county. Cork too learns that he may not have known someone as well as he should when Rainey’s ex-husband becomes involved in the hunt for Peter.
What I most enjoyed about the book was the fish out of water aspect to it. Cork knows how to investigate the disappearance of Peter but there are things about his environment that he doesn’t know and which complicate his investigation. Someone not born in the southwest wouldn’t know about the Monsoons and gully washers that occur and it was interesting to see how Cork coped with these. The author masterfully show throughout the course of the book how Cork finds clues and in the end how those clues fit together. There is also a strong sense of problems along the border and how desperate many immigrants are to find a better life. This aspect of the book may offend certain individuals but I found the sympathy towards these individuals to be very appealing.
My one quibble about the book is how Rainy is almost sidelined in the hunt for her own son. I would have liked to have seen her more actively involved in the hunt itself. Rainy does play a role but it tends more to the traditional “Woman who talks reason” type of role.
One note about the narration – the narrator has a Midwestern accent so some of the Spanish pronunciations are a bit awkward.
I liked the book well enough to pick up another title of his soon.
I have had Blacklands by Ms. Bauer for years. For some odd reason known only to my subconscious I haven’t read this book. My subconscious needs to be shaken soundly. If Blacklands is anything like Snap I’ll have to dig it out and read it soon.
Before I go into detail I’d like to say ignore the tagline on the front cover. It makes Snap sound like your typical serial killer thriller and it is so much more than that.
Snap opens with a scene of three young children stuck in a stalled car off of a motorway (freeway). Jack’s mother has told him to stay put as she goes off to find a phone. After an hour Jack decides that he and his sisters should go find his mother. They find the roadside phone but no mother. Eventually they are told she was murdered. Jack’s father eventually leaves the three on their own and Jack takes to robbing houses to provide enough for his siblings to eat. In the meanwhile we are introduced to a very pregnant Catherine While and a disgraced police officer, John Marvel, moving into their small town.
There are supporting characters including Jacks siblings; a very fastidious police officer trying to solve the burglaries and Jack’s fence. Needless to say most of them are destined to intersect.
I was surprised at how funny parts of this novel were. Reynold’s the fastidious officer made me laugh several times. Marvel is almost the stereotype of the cop who plays against the rules but Ms. Bauer twists it just enough that he is still unique.
The character portrayals are also well done and at times quite touching. Two individuals in particular captured my heart – Merry, the youngest sibling, with her devotion to her tortoise, and Jack, poor Jack who at times has the weariness of a middle aged man as he tries to keep up appearances.
The story may start out a bit slowly at first so that the reader can understand the characters but it certainly picks up speed. Well worth the read.
In non book related news I will be going to our local quilt show at the end of the week so suspect I won’t get much reading done but I will be seeing lots of dazzling quilts so, as far as I am concerned, it’s worth it.
Have a good reading week everyone.