Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Book Review: Moon Water Madness by Glynn Marsh Alam (Luanne Fogarty #7)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Evocative writing brings great characters and a good story to life.
Cons: None worth mentioning
The Bottom Line:
Reading this book is
Worth all the mosquito
Bites you'll get.  Don't scratch!

What Madness is There on Moon Island?

The first time I read about Luanne Fogarty, I feel in love with the series.  Luanne is an adjunct diver for the county sheriff in the fresh water swamps of northern Florida.  The books feature interesting characters, decent plots, and vivid writing.  Moon Water Madness is the seventh in the series, and it doesn't disappoint in the slightest.

Luanne is enjoying a summer afternoon at her home in the swamp when Sissy Moon, a little girl, shows up asking for help.  Her great-granddaddy has fallen into the lake on the family island and she's been sent to get Luanne to dive down and find him.  With a great sense of urgency, Luanne heads out, calling the police along the way.

Only when Luanne arrives at the destination does she learn that Oscar Moon did indeed fall into that lake, in 1959.  A quick dive doesn't turn up any traces of his body.  But the questions just keep coming.  Why search for the body after 50 years?  What is Oscar's wife hearing on the island?  And what other sinister forces are at work there?

The plot moves forward at a steady pace.  Because of Luanne's close relationship with the police, these are closer to police procedurals than the puzzle with clues and red herrings I normally read.  I was interested in the events the entire time.  There is a strong sub-plot that ties in nicely.  And the ultimate solution was logical.

The cast of characters is fairly well established at this point.  Luanne is a strong, independent heroine.  Vernon, her diving partner and love interest, is around as much as normal.  And that's the same with the other police characters.  They do feature more prominently toward the end.  This just allows us more time to spend with Pasquin, Luanne's 80-something neighbor.  He and Edwin, the snake loving swamp native, provide the best bits of local color and legend.  I can't imagine this series without them.  All the new characters are strong, but Sissy stands out most in my mind.  This is a complex girl/woman who is instantly sympathetic.  She absolutely stole my heart and helped make the events of the story matter that much more.

But the real star here is and has always been the writing.  Author Glynn Marsh Alam has always been able to capture the world of the swamps and paint them into pictures that not only let us see but hear, feel, and taste it as well.  Luanne's first person narration makes us aware of our surroundings at all times without once slowing down the story.

Like the others in the series, Moon Water Madness is a book to be savored.  If you rush through it, you'll miss so much of the rich detail.  So settle back and enjoy a trip to another place.

You'll hold your breath through all of the Luanne Fogarty Mysteries in order.

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