Friday, May 31, 2013

Book Review: Tide Water Talisman by Glynn Marsh Alam (Luanne Fogarty #8)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Wonderful writing and characters
Cons: Plot could be tighter
The Bottom Line
Plot wanders a bit
But characters and writing
Are still engrossing

Murder Among Katrina Refugees

I first picked up the Luanne Fogarty Mystery series because of my love of all things water since Luanne works part time as a diver for the local sheriff, exploring the fresh water swamps of northern Florida for evidence in crimes.  I quickly became a fan because of the writing and characters.  Tide Water Talisman is the eighth book in the series, and I enjoyed catching up with these old friends.

This book takes us into a camp of refugees from Hurricane Katrina.  Even now, these people are still trying to get on with their lives after that horrible event.  This camp includes its one little shopping center with a junk shop, a convenience store, and a spiritualist shop.  Luanne is drawn into this world when a new sea food restaurant is set to open near the shops, and her friend Momma is helping them get ready for business.

But it isn't long before Luanne's part time job sheriff comes into play.  The body of one of the residents is found floating nearby.  Then a shop owner turns up dead.  While diving for the murder weapon, Luanne finds a skeleton.  What is really going on at this camp?

The real star of this book is the writing.  Author Glynn Marsh Alam has a way of making the swamp and the critters that live there come alive.  It's a world that moves at a slower pace, and that is reflected in the writing.  While I often race through some books, I can't do that here.  I read at a leisurely pace, savoring the writing and a world I have yet to visit in real life.

The plots in these books usually move forward at a slow and steady pace.  This time around, I felt like the mystery got a little lost in the happenings at the refugee camp.  Frankly, I found the happenings interesting, although I couldn't see why any of it mattered.  By the time the book ended, everything was wrapped up, but it still wasn't one of the tighter plots in the series.

I mentioned earlier how much I love the characters, and it was wonderful to visit with them again.  Luanne is smart, something that often irritates her boss in the police department since she isn't technically a detective.  My favorite character has to be her old neighbor Pasquin, who plays a large part again.  Some of the other regulars have smaller than normal parts, but I enjoyed catching up with them again.

The new characters brought in for this book more than make up for it.   They are unique and memorable.  I never had a hard time remembering who the various players were in the dramas happening all over the camp.

Frankly, these visits with Luanne don't happen often enough, and I'm sorry to say goodbye to her already.  Tide Water Talisman will please fans of the series, and if you've missed these books, pick one up today and take a trip to Florida.

FCC Note: The author sent me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

And if you are looking for more great books, check out the rest of the Luanne Fogarty Mysteries in order.

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