Tiger Lily by Noel-Anne Brennan creates a believable paranormal world involving deadly tiger attacks and a heroine who fights tooth and nail to end th...moreTiger Lily by Noel-Anne Brennan creates a believable paranormal world involving deadly tiger attacks and a heroine who fights tooth and nail to end the horror before it can destroy her family. The author brings to her writing an impressive understanding of people and emotions, big cat behavior, tiger mythology in Hmong and other minority cultures, detective work, aviation and stormy East Coast weather. All this material comes in addition to the story’s mystery and a budding romance; it’s a lot to write about and still retain a firm focus. But in Brennan’s skillful hands all the intriguing questions a reader might have are convincingly addressed. I look forward to reading the other books Brennan has authored and to her future work.
Reviewed by Elle Thornton 03/05/2012 In The Butterfly Forest author Tom Lowe creates a haunting tale of murder in a primordial Florida wilderness where...moreReviewed by Elle Thornton 03/05/2012 In The Butterfly Forest author Tom Lowe creates a haunting tale of murder in a primordial Florida wilderness where rare butterflies struggle to live and savage men spill the blood of innocents. Retired Miami homicide detective Sean O’Brien goes deep into the darkness after he foils an attempted abduction at a Walmart followed quickly by the discovery of grisly murders in the Ocala National Forest (north of Orlando, west of Daytona).
Along the way to discovering the motive and identity of the killer, readers will come across secret meth labs hidden in the jungle foliage, grotesque bonfire rituals, encamped Rainbow people, and crystal-clear springs that bubble from the forest floor. Lowe gives readers intriguing portraits, especially that of a homeless ex-con searching for outlaw treasure and a Seminole who helps O’Brien find obscure evidence in the vast wilds. The writer more than satisfies with his shorter character descriptions as well, especially that of the hippie occupants of a filthy tattoo parlor and a mysterious preacher at an old country church and graveyard. In the writer’s capable hands no character is above suspicion, with motive and identity as elusive as the butterflies.
O’Brien’s grieving the loss of his wife, but Lowe gives him an extended family at the seaside marina where he keeps his boat Jupiter. Max, the detective’s beloved dachshund, can count on fried shrimp and cheese handouts from friends at the marina, Kim the pretty waitress at the Tiki bar always has a frosty bottle of beer to offer O’Brien, and his close buddies and fellow sailors Nick and Dave provide salty and smart conversation, good wine, and home-cooked dinners.
O’Brien is a thoughtful man whose knowledge of crime-scene detective work and the natural sciences is matched by his knowledge of men and women. His sensitivity to people and understanding of nature inform a lethal intelligence: the techno-savvy expert sharpshooter and war vet can be merciless when the need arises, as it frequently does in this book.
Lowe’s writing is within the tradition of James Lee Burke and the late Tony Hillerman: like them, his exquisite descriptions of nature serve as a counterpoint to evil’s ugliness; at the same time the descriptions heighten the sense that life is fragile and that death is always about to strike. The book is part of a series, so readers will have more Sean O’Brien mysteries to look forward to.
When Lisbeth Salander disappears for a short time from this second book in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, I was tempted to shelve it. I’m glad I didn’t. Sal...moreWhen Lisbeth Salander disappears for a short time from this second book in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, I was tempted to shelve it. I’m glad I didn’t. Salander, a truly original female character, isn’t gone for too long. And the author’s lesser characters lead into a tangled web from the past tightening around her in the present. How things will turn out is never in serious doubt, but there’s tremendous tension nevertheless. When she reappears, Salander’s every bit as vulnerable, brilliant, and fierce as in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I was somewhat puzzled by the first 79 pages of The Girl Who Played With Fire: set in Grenada, the story almost seems like the start of a novel entirely different from the one that unfolds. But it works because it tells more about Salander. I’m looking forward to reading Larsson’s third book in the series.(less)