After reading two rather (for different reasons) demanding books I fell gratefully back into the arms of an author one can be confident of enjoying. Wolf Pear also had the honour of being first up on my all-singing and dancing Kindle Fire, a nice 60th birthday present from my work colleagues.
Dianne Gray can’t be pigeonholed. This book is, I guess, a detective novel with a large helping of paranormal. But equally as important as the detective is the well-drawn character Esther, superficially unattractive but with redeeming features that, compared to her awful family, make you want to cheer for a good outcome for her.
Early on in the story Esther is seen to dispose of a dead body (or was it dead?) in her garden and to hurriedly cover the dug area with tomato plants. Too rare in this book are Ms Gray’s excellent descriptions of nature seen to best effect in Let Sleeping Gods Lie. But in Esther’s yard ‘She flicked seeds onto the grass where crimson rosellas screeched like a thousand rubber soles on a squash court. Sugarcane fires to the south turned the sunset to blood. Silver heat blurred the fields in the distance‘.
Many miles away Detective JD Cusack sets off to find his brother’s killer. We quickly learn that JD has acquired, quite unwanted by him, extraordinary psychic powers. He is also hyper-sensitive to touch and to any objects with a history – buildings, books etc. These senses lead him northwards through Ms Gray’s native Australia, following the killer. A serial killer he soon realises.
Meanwhile Esther’s tomatoes thrive and grow to prize-winning proportions, leading to speculation as to her propagation secrets. Finally JD and Esther meet and all is revealed.
Excellent stuff as usual and one can’t help hurrying to the end. If I’m honest JD was a bit too gifted and weird to gain my sympathy, a bit over-egged, but maybe that’s me.
My only worry is that I’m fast running out of this author’s works and we must all hope her WIPs soon see the light of day.