Monday, October 12, 2015

Brief Mention of KEEPER'S REACH, Carla Neggers

There are so many subgenres of "mysteries" now -- with the most familiar being the endpoints of "cozy" (a traditional amateur-sleuth version with most violence taking place offstage and little specific description of any injuries or deaths), and hard-boiled (drenched in grim determination to solve the crime and bring the perpetrator to justice -- which may or may not involve actual court proceedings, and is likely to include a sturdy dose of depression and substance abuse).

I enjoy and appreciate the full spectrum, including its modern international versions and the related but differently paced espionage and "young adult" sleuth fiction.

One area I don't read a lot of, though, is romantic mysteries. Still, I read at least one every year, because I so much enjoy the New England and Ireland settings and complex, maturing characters provided by Carla Neggers. Her newest in the Sharpe and Donovan series came out in August: KEEPER'S REACH, set in Maine, and in the Cotwolds of England. I saved my copy for relaxing, and enjoyed it earlier this weekend.

Emma Sharpe, an art crimes expert, is happily moving toward her scheduled marriage to Colin Donovan, and the couple are learning how to share some secrets and protect others in their dual roles as FBI agents. The art thief they've pursued through the four earlier books is very much at the center of KEEPER'S REACH -- and so are the Donovan brothers, especially Mike this time. Add in winter, transatlantic investigations, and a shadow from Mike's military past, and the plot quickly grows complex. Watch for plenty of appearances by Father Finian Bracken, too.

St. Brigid's cross plays a role in KEEPER'S REACH.
I enjoyed all the interactions in the book, particularly the way Neggers handles gender differences in people committed to fast-paced and dangerous work. I didn't see the final twist coming -- maybe I missed a clue or two? -- but I'm satisfied that the complications of modern crime-solving, seasoned with romance, could indeed work out to the situations in this book. It's a good read, easy to enjoy, and full of memorable scenes -- and that, of course, forms the ultimate combination of a book well worth recommending. I'll be putting this title onto the gift list for a couple of my friends at the end of the year!

PS - For extra fun, check out the author blog for Carla Neggers, here.

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