Jen's Reviews > The Blue Cheer

The Blue Cheer by Ed Lynskey
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's review
Jul 21, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: detective-fiction, male-author
Read in July, 2008

Frank Johnson left his home in Pelham, Virginia, for what he hoped would be the serenity of Scarab, West Virginia. A cabin in the woods; living a more naturally. What he finds instead is Stinger missiles, walking fish insignias and t-r-o-u-b-l-e.

When Jan Maddox, the wife of his only friend in West Virginia is found brutally murdered shortly after Johnson witnesses a Stinger missile being fired, he finds it's too much of a coincidence for the two events not to be related. He and Old Man Maddox set out to find the murderer.

Lynskey does a fabulous job with character development. Frank Johnson has so many layers to him, and every one is intriguing. While he comes off very likable, he has few friends. He's more of a loner, and he's a simple man. Bluegrass music is what he favors. He doesn't have the Internet or a television in his cabin home, and that suits him just fine. Life's made him a bit of a sceptic, and yet he is out to do good and help those who are important to him.

The plot contains a little extra fluff at times. There is a bit of a subplot dealing with Frank's cousin which doesn't really play into the main plot of the novel. It probably could have been eliminated without any negative overall effect. Frank is in a "backwoods Southern town" and the law enforcement is questionable at best, but definitely dead set AGAINST Frank.

The book moves quickly and seems to speed up the further in you read. While "who done it" isn't necessarily a mystery throughout, what's going to transpire is. There was an incident early on in the novel dealing with evidence from a crime scene. I remember thinking, "hey, that's not right." But later I saw the purpose Lynskey had in mind for it, and the "ah ha" moment came. Lynskey even leaves a bit of the plot unresolved - on purpose. It works, and it works well.

There were some areas where I thought the writing was a bit rough around the edges, but other sections more than made up for the rough patches; they really enabled me to "enter" the story, be a part of it.

Well worth the read!
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