Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book Review: Green Water Ghost by Glynn Marsh Alam (Luanne Fogarty #6)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Real characters brought to life by vivid writing
Cons: None worth dwelling on
The Bottom Line:
Take Halloween dive
As real skeletons appear
Can they find killer?

Finding Skeletons at Halloween

Green Water Ghost is the sixth entry in the Luanne Fogarty mystery series. While a linguistics professor at a college in Tallahassee, Luanne moonlights as a diver for her local sheriff's department. Since she lives back in the fresh water swamps of the pan handle, there are plenty of opportunities for her to get involved in mysteries.

It's a rare day off for both Luanne and her beau, deputy Vernon Drake. They are relaxing by taking the Folsom Walking Tour just over the county line. While the guide goes on about the extinct volcano just under the swamp, the college kids also on the tour are more interested in the slave graveyard. When they head off to explore, one of them falls in a hole and gets injured. When Vernon goes to help her, he finds new bones mixed in with the old.

Since the graveyard had long since been abandoned, Luanne and Vernon know that something isn't right. Since they are both on the scene, they become involved in the case, even diving into a nearby pond looking for more bones. Luanne's find of three skull caps only furthers the mystery. Who do these bones belong to? And how did they come to be scattered all over the old graveyard?

This series is truly like a visit to the swamp country of Florida. For starters, there's the plot. Now, don't misunderstand me for a minute. I was entertained the entire way through. But, while the clues are liberally distributed, the story feels laid back and relaxed. Still, the pace never lags, and I was surprised by the ending.

Adding to the charm are the characters. There are quite a few series regulars, and every one of them feels real. Luanne's day job features a little more prominently then normal, making her character richer. The several members of the sheriff's department that we see are great. But more interesting of the regulars are Luanne's swamp neighbors. Pasquin, an octogenarian, is an absolute hoot. Even "Mama," the owner of the local restaurant who really only appears a couple of times, is real.

And that's not to leave out the suspects. The book is practically crawling with them, and they are all as interesting as the returning characters.

Tying everything together are the vivid descriptions. The book is set around Halloween, and you can feel the crisp air of autumn. This just makes the characters and the story seem that much more real.

Green Water Ghost is another great book from a talented author.  If you want an entertaining mystery and a glimpse of life in the swamps of northern Florida, this is the series for you.

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