GENRE: US Amateur Sleuth
When she got several yards from the Bar, she turned off the light. She stood in the woods, listening and watching for an indication she’d been seen. But the wind and water sounds were not underscored by a shout, so she scooted down the remainder of the path. The sandbar stretched out in a tan smear against the darker river and hill, and she slipped her feet onto the sand.
She stood up, dusting off the seat of her jeans, and eased her way over to the old cottage. She kept close to the embankment, wanting the obscurity of the black hill to mask her presence. She didn’t fancy Frank knowing she was spying.
The night was practically silent. No barges or private boats plied the river; the water touched the shore in leisurely, rhythmical waves, as though it breathed in sleep. Its soft sighs were the only sounds she heard.
Until the murmur of voices and the thud of metal hitting against wood reached her.
A family trip to the Big Spring area in the Missouri Ozarks introduced Jessie to the wonders of nature. Her summer stints as a camp counselor and canoeing instructor cemented her enthusiasm. This love of the natural world and the river flows through her Linn House mysteries.
In 2001 Jessie graduated from Webster University with a BA degree and departmental honors in English.
She lives in the St Louis, MO area and spends as much time as she can camping and watching the barges on the river.
Devils Bar begun well, with a woman who had vanished, and with her car still in its spot in the carpark. The setting of the lodge belonging to Rona, an events planner, was painted before my eyes. These chapters did put me in the mind of an old Agatha Christie mystery, and I settled down further into my seat to read more.
We are then introduced to Rona’s ex husband, who helps her out with a flat tyre. You may think this isn’t strange, but he has no business being on that road, in her part of the country, as she hadn’t heard from him since their divorce. Their relationship is one of the best things about this book. They are obviously comfortable together. We then hear from him again, and at this point Devil’s Bar has become a bizarre, paranoid, Hitchcock type thriller. I felt the story now had started to get to the whodunit part faster than the pace the author had set.
Rona sets out to solve the mysterious goings on around her property before it affects her business, and ignores police advice to leave them to it. Isn’t this how any adventure usually starts?
I admire any person who can write a solid mystery, which Devil’s Bar proves to be. On even ground Devil’s Bar has an intriguing premise, a great setting, character, and red herrings. It doesn’t have gratuitous violence, or foul language.
While ultimately I felt underwhelmed by the book, there is plenty of good qualities to recommend this book to any person who likes that genre.
A Brown Agate Pendant
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