Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: It's still Evan
Cons: Missing much of the charm
The Bottom Line:
But it doesn't work as well
Blip in fun series
Darker and Slower Than Normal
The six previous books in the Constable Evan Evans series have been light, fun affairs. Sure, there's been a murder or two, but they've always been in the best cozy tradition. Furthermore, the series has introduced me to
a country I had only heard of before. Now, I long to visit. So when I sat down
to read Evan Only Knows, I was expecting more of the same. Unfortunately, I found
this one not quite up to par.
When foot and mouth disease makes its way to
Wales, Constable Evans finds himself caught
between his job and his friends in the
where he is the local law. When his boss offers him time off, he and his fiance
Bronwen decide to go meet each other's family. village of Llanfair
They've hardly arrived at Mrs. Evans in
Swansea before they get the news. The young
man who killed Evan's father years ago has just been arrested for another
murder. Called into the hearing to keep him in jail without bail, Evan makes a
startling discovery - he thinks the kid is innocent this time. Now he must
sneak around behind the backs of the police and his mother to find the real
killer. But will he alienate all those he loves and put his career in jeopardy
as a result?
The series takes a turn toward darker stories with this book. While there's some chilling stuff in future installments, this one is the darkest and grittiest. It starts with the slaughter of all the sheep in Llanfair and continues on through the details of the mystery. I was expecting a light escape from reality, but in this book reality was more the rule.
Also, the plot was weak. Because we need time to set up the problems in the village, the real story doesn't start until a third of the way into the book. Once it got going, I was hooked and surprised by a couple twists. I did figure things out about 80 pages before the end, however, which was a disappointment.
The majority of the book is set outside of Llanfair, which has been home based up to this point. The colorful locals we've come to love are really only featured in the first third of the book. However, this book does introduce us to some great new characters. This is the first we've seen of Evan's mother, and she is annoying but lovable. Her scenes usually brought some much needed comic relief to the story. Just as interesting were Bronwen's parents. They only make a couple appearances, but they are memorable. The best part of the book is the added page time Bronwen gets. She's usually in the background but plays a much more active part of this book, something I really enjoyed.