Tuesday, March 18, 2008

In a Dark Season-Vicki Lane

In a Dark Season
Vicki Lane
Dell, May 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780440243601

Driving past the spooky house Elizabeth Goodweather, owner of the Full Circle Far, sees a woman about to commit suicide. She is horrified when she realizes this is her new friend Nola Barrett, who seemed perfectly stable just a few days ago. She tries to reason with Nola while waiting for authorities to arrive, but the woman leaps anyway. Fortunately Nola is not seriously injured although she is taken to the hospital. Her niece Tracy arrives to sell Nola’s home so the money can be used to place her in a nursing facility.

Elizabeth is a bit suspicious because she never heard Nola saying she had any living relatives. Whenever she visits Nola at the home, her friend does not seem lucid until she starts babbling in rhyme and her words have meaning. While Elizabeth tries to figure out what is going on, Nola’s pastor commits suicide for a long ago sin. These events tie back to a gang rape of an innocent young woman who wrote to the interested sheriff; but her letter was stolen so he has no way to contact her. In a silo, the bones of a man is found. Elizabeth knows these seemingly unlinked events are tied together, but not how while a cold killer prepares to add her to the list.

Vickie Lane writes a fabulous whodunit that contains various crimes in the past like when a young man is hanged for a murder he did not commit. The story line is vivid with the past imparting clues Elizabeth finds in her present activities. This technique cleverly works absorbing the audience into wondering what the heroine will find next. Although the amateur sleuth paradox is evident, fans will appreciate IN A DARK SEASON as this juicy mystery has several subplots that provide the motive to the present crimes.

Harriet Klausner

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