I’m about to start the Edgar countdown, but first, I have three quick reviews to do!
First up is Jennifer McMahon’s The Winter People. This supernatural thriller alternates between present day – when there are some mighty strange goings-on in West Hall, Vermont – and 1908, when Sara Harrison Shea’s beloved daughter Gertie dies, setting in place a chain of events that will literally never end. It’s a zombie story with a twist. Despite a plot hole or two, Winter People benefits from McMahon’s writing skill and you’ll be totally sucked in. Like a little dark magic and horror in your mysteries? This one’s for you.
The second is Stephen King’s Revival. The book is in the tradition of Carrie, Cujo, and Pet Sematary, with a little Ray Bradbury thrown in. Jamie Morton, young son of the local minister, meets the Rev. Charles Jacobs and his family. There’s something special about Rev. Jacobs: he believes he can harness the special electrical power of the soul to heal the afflicted. The twist is: he can. After the death of his wife and child, the grief-wracked Rev. Jacobs moves on, the years pass, and Jamie grows up to be in a rock-and-roll band. When they reconnect, sparks fly (literally) and its all eerie fun and games until Charlie Jacobs actually brings somebody back from the dead to learn the secrets of life after death… that’s on page 378. King had me till then, but the rest of the book was all too graphic and over the top for me.
The final book is Salvation of a Saint, by Keigo Higashino. Higashino’s debut novel, The Devotion of Suspect X, was an Edgar finalist in 2012 and I enjoyed it, ultimately ranking it in the middle of the nominees. If Winter People has breathless pacing and Revival is old-style horror, Salvation is pure Sherlock Holmes-ian deduction. Minimal drama, and what there is, is understated. For people who like their mysteries cerebral, this puzzler’s a good one.