Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Devil's Feather

I enjoy finding authors with backlists, because it means I've got a few years before I have to wait for his or her new books to come out.  I decided to try Minette Walters after seeing an adaptation of The Scold's Bridle on BBC America a few years ago, and wasn't disappointed.  I enjoy her writing style, and particularly like how she inserts police reports, newspaper clippings, and letters or e-mails to handle the exposition, and I'm sorry that I only have two more of her books to read before I'm scouring the new release lists for her name.

The Devil's Feather, unfortunately, is a bit of a disappointment.  Walters often takes two or three apparently separate plot threads and unifies them as she approaches page 300, but this time it felt forced.  She starts with the brutal murder of women in Sierra Leone.  A few years later, Reuters reporter Connie Burns is on assignment in Iraq and sees the man she suspected of the earlier crimes.  Soon after she begins investigating him, she's kidnapped and released after three days.  Suffering from PTSD and still being stalked by her abductor, she rents a small house in Dorset and falls into another mystery - was the elderly, Alzheimer's stricken owner of the house being mistreated by her London-based daughter?  Either plot would have made a thrilling novel, and Walters has expertly  tied disparate threads in the past, but this time it doesn't quite work.  Overall, I'd rate the book "interesting but unsatisfying" and a bit creepier than her usual work.

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