Sunday, March 10, 2013

Book Review: Cold Water Corpse by Glynn Marsh Alam (Luanne Fogarty #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: The writing is outstanding in this mystery
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
The writing is king
Characters and story still great
You won't want to stop

Cold Weather Brings out a Cold Blooded Killer

The Luanne Fogarty mysteries are closer to the police procedural sub-genre than any other series I regularly read. Luanne is a linguistics professor by day, but she takes on the occasional job helping the local sheriff dive for clues in the fresh water springs of northern Florida.  Cold Water Corpse is her third case.

Luanne and Pasquin, her 80 year old neighbor, are on their way by boat to pick up alligator meat for the sheriff department’s booth at the local fair when they discover a woman’s body floating in the shallows. The coroner makes the connection with several other murders in various locations, including a skeleton that Luanne found while working another case two years earlier. Then a male carnival worker is found murdered in the same manner, the first male victim of the killer. What was his connection with the women killed? Why did the killer change his or her pattern? Will Luanne figure out the answer before the fair leaves town?

This is the third Luanne Fogarty mystery, and it’s just as great as the others. The returning characters have grown and continue to develop in this story. I’m very interested to see where the author goes with a couple characters, especially Luanne's ex who has developed a fear of diving. And I loved watching Tony, Luanne's police boss, fight his pride whenever Luanne provided a good direction to follow. The carnival setting allows the author to create some truly bizarre characters for this entry. Yet none of them come off as over the top.

The story starts fast and never loses its pace. The sub-plots weave through the story without slowing things down at all. There are a couple nice twists before the climax, which caught me off guard.

The star of the series has always been the writing, and it is still top notch here. Unlike the previous two entries, this book is set during the beginnings of winter. I've loved the way Ms. Alam was able to bring the hot humid weather to life, but she's just as adept at tackling the changing of the seasons. It still felt like I was right there with Luanne every moment. Yet the evocative writing never gets in the way of the story or characters.

This series wraps great characters and interesting plots up in excellent writing. If that appeals to you, check out Cold Water Corpse.

And read the rest of the Luanne Fogarty Mysteries in order.

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