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The North Country Confessional

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Family roots, teachings, and tradition permeate Darby Weeks’s existence despite a decade’s old decision to walk away from a life of privilege. They have given him the courage to survive under impossible conditions, but the most challenging of them all comes from an unexpected place: his return home. As heinous crimes peppered with riddles begin to plague the North Country, Darby's reappearance back home sparks an old rivalry between two families, releasing an evil to wreck vengeance upon everything around them. Darby's proposal of a truce between them not only fails to appease the rival family’s thirst for retribution; it fuels it. The town of Bretton Woods lies between the two when old passions ignite and set forth new determinations to win an old struggle.

Reunited with an old flame and guided by a pompous blowhard, Darby sets out on a journey to learn the truth about his family’s past and their ancient blood feud with the ruthless Marsh family. Darby’s quest leads him all over New England, from the rare books library at Dartmouth College to Author’s Ridge - the final resting place of the literary greats Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Emerson. Darby discovers a family he’s never known and an insidious danger lurking in the arms of a rekindled love.

236 pages, Paperback

First published December 12, 2014

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Craig C. Charles

1 book62 followers

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5 stars
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7 (25%)
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Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews
Profile Image for Jacquie.
Author 93 books883 followers
March 18, 2015
I enjoyed this book a lot. One of my favorite lines came at the start of chapter thirteen- Words are like the summer sun: they can do to your heart what a ray of light can do to a fallow field.
The freshness of this author’s voice will stay with me for a while.
He touched on a tough subject in this story: environmentalism. And while I really like Darby, I was not a fan of his love interest, Emily. She came across as childish and mean throughout much of the book.
The descriptions of the north country in Washington state are vivid and well portrayed. I particularly enjoyed the Indiana Jones vibe this book gave as the hero and friends chase down a variety of clues to stop the villain while danger lurks around every corner.
Over all, very enjoyable read.
Profile Image for DOLLY.
52 reviews
June 28, 2021
You feel as if you are actually part of the story, absolutely awesome book, which I found very hard to put down.
Profile Image for Andrew.
Author 25 books28 followers
January 27, 2016
War hero Darby Stickney Weeks returns with a fanfare to the North Country, the region where he grew up. He falls immediately into a centuries-old feud between his prosperous family – of which he is the sole heir to the fortune - and the notorious and very dangerous Marsh family. Darby fails in his attempt to call a truce between the families, instead igniting it and putting his life and others, in danger.

In order to uncover the secret history of his family and end the feud, he must solve a series of bizarre riddles left behind by his father, which will uncover once and for all the truth. In doing so he must traverse New England, all the while tolerating Silas; a local elderly know-it-all, and also slowly restoring a forgotten romance with Emily, the woman who broke his heart many years previously.

Meanwhile, a company called Aqua-Nord threatens the environment of the North Country with their nefarious plans for expansion, and will stop at nothing to ensure they get their way. Local nature enthusiasts have a fight on their hands to save the natural beauty of the area, but it is a fight which could prove fatal for those involved.

This novel was a bit of a mixed bag; the historic nature of the blood feud between the Stickney/Marsh families was palpable every time the families came together, and Darby’s quest to solve the riddles was genuinely exciting. I loved the characters of the hotel owned by the Stickney family and all its quirks, from the haughty maître d’ of the luxurious restaurant, to the barman creating fantastically-named health cocktails, drunk in copious volumes by various characters.

Silas’s lengthy ad-hoc history lessons in which he seems to have known every famous person ever were amusing, lending comic relief to the impending danger. The trip to the rare books library was a treat, and there was great chemistry between Silas and Horatio, the librarian.

However I never really believed in the Darby/Emily relationship, as the surface on their back story was barely scratched. There was so much more to be learned about Emily’s departure all those years ago, and also how she came to return to the North Country. The supposedly dangerous Pickford Marsh also didn’t appear often enough to impose himself as the antagonist, in spite of the mentions of his notorious past.

It was a good novel in places, but not a great one overall, and probably could have been longer. I felt there should have been a lot more focus on the importance of the riddles and Darby’s family history, as well as more development on Emily, and less on the Aqua-Nord subplot which in my opinion added little to the story.

I received this book for free as part of the Goodreads First Reads giveaway, in exchange for an honest review.
February 1, 2015
For more reviews and all things bookish go check out For The Love of Fictional Worlds

The author shared a digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review

I didn't realise how much I missed a good old mystery thriller book till I got a chance to review this one. I have been a part of fantasy and science fiction world way too long and this book was a perfect escape for that (just for a little while at least :P)

This book has a hero (an actual war hero!) who ran away from his past but has now returned like the prodigal son. It has heroine who has lives and works in grey and that made her hardened and cynical. We have a psychopathic villain who will most definitely not turn out to be the good guy (oh how I have missed thee :D) and we have dark dirty secrets just waiting to come out. We have a man who made mistakes yet is always considered to be the bad guy by everyone including the cops.

And we have a mystery clued up in riddles.

All this should have made this book, soo predictable that it wouldn't have even been funny. But damn, if it didn't take me back to my days of gorging on James Patterson, Jeffrey Archer books that I stole from my father. These things should have not worked together and yet it did.

The writing is wonderfully imaginative and the scenery so vivid that I could actually imagine all the gory details (yes I missed that too!).

There were a few things that rankled me though not enough to make even dislike this book. Darby's emotional responses seemed a little flat. Since majority of this book was in his POV, I expected a lot of reflection from someone who is the protagonist in his position. Also, some of the methods used to kill/torture/maim the victims in this book, seemed a little far fetched, but I was actually okay with that!

Beyond this, this book was a perfect reminder of how much I missed a little bit of mystery genre in my life. I can't wait to get more from this author, cause I absolutely loved the gruesome way he killed people off :D
623 reviews4 followers
January 28, 2015
I was given this book for free by the author to give my honest review. The author gave it a good try. There were some things that drove me nuts about the book: We have a killer in the book that gives someone a poison and based on that poison it kills him right away BUT in reality this poison does not kill like that. A grown woman who is a successful business woman acted as if she was 5 as she is sticking out her tongue and hitting the main character. Which wouldn't have bothered me so much but she pops in has sex with the man, makes plans with him which she breaks, pops back out and then they are thrown together again and then acts like she is 5. Had a hard time figuring out where this was taking place, during the book I thought we were in the USA, Canada, and France. It took me till the end of the book to really figure out where it took place. I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters and trying to figure out the time this took place. Also a disconnect as in the beginning of the book there are 2 characters and it looks like a story is going to be told by those 2, which it isn't and that is fine, but after reading one of those characters is dead so that didn't make much sense to me either. The story line needed to be developed a little bit more along with the characters. It wasn't a bad book, just didn't flow very well and the characters were hard to get to like.
Profile Image for Sanna Hines.
Author 5 books146 followers
May 3, 2016
Great mystery and suspense

Darby Weeks, recipient of the Medal of Honor, must decide what to do with his future. A complicated man from an illustrious family, he joined the Navy to live in obscurity only to return to New Hampshire a hero. His homecoming renews relationships with old girlfriend Emily (now a corporate CEO), old nemesis Finn (now an eco-crusader), and truly old (“He had to be at least a hundred and five in both years and pounds…”) friend Silas. But what haunts Darby are the faces he doesn’t see, especially his father’s, whose suicide took family secrets to the grave.

The sudden disappearance of a priest prompts Darby’s quest to unearth those family secrets. Along with Emily and Silas, he journeys to Concord where two graveyards provide clues. Then Emily vanishes, and Darby must confront a deranged enemy as well as secrets.

Richly detailed, The North Country Confessional takes readers into the Great North Woods, into the elegant Mount Washington Hotel, and into the characters’ lives. Suspense starts early and continues to build. Not all mysteries are solved, but there are hints Darby will return in a future novel. I hope so. I’ll be eager to see him again.

Profile Image for Mave.
481 reviews9 followers
December 29, 2015
I enjoyed this book, once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.
Darby returns after many years of absence in his hometown, Bretton Woods. His family is one of the city's most important but years ago he gave up everything to live life in its own way, wanted to prove he can do it alone. He's always been crushed by the power of his family, he tried to use his mother's surname to go unnoticed. His return home, however, reopened the wounds of the past and also rekindled old rivalries. Here he meets Emily Baines, reached Bretton just for him .....
Darby is a strong character, honest, courageous, tormented by his past and eager to finally put it behind. Emily, however, is a superficial and childish woman, doesn't deserve Darby's love.
Original and exciting history, well written with a fast and addictive pace, full of suspense. Very beautiful descriptions of places and landscapes.

I recommend it to those who love mystery and thrillers.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review
Profile Image for Angelina Kalahari.
Author 12 books16 followers
May 4, 2016
A cracking good mystery

I loved this novel, filled with wonderfully eccentric and well-rounded characters and beautiful descriptions of the Great North Woods. The author’s word paintings of the elegant Mount Washington Hotel made me want to visit it immediately.

Medal of Honour recipient, Darby Weeks, comes home to New Hampshire, but he does not feel like the hero he has been decorated to be. He is haunted by secrets and unfulfilling relationships from the past. One character and relationship I particularly enjoyed is with Silas, who sounds like he’s around a hundred years old and has lived a madly glamorous life. I would love to meet him and have a chat about his experiences that included rubbing shoulders with some very famous artists.

The novel drew me in right from the start as the suspense starts early. It is a page-turner to find out what happens next. It also left me wondering what comes next. I hope there’s more as I can’t wait to read it.
10 reviews
March 17, 2015
As an independent reviewer for Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock, I rate North Country Confessional with 4 fangs.
I found the book a little hard to get into. The characters were hard to follow, especially Emily. She wants to have a relationship with Darby but she is constantly playing games with him. Darby is like a lost puppy wanting so badly for Emily to love him yet he won’t admit it to anyone either.
Darby tries to resolve an old family feud but instead gets pulled into the past drama. In order to get to the bottom of everything, he has to solve a series of riddles that lead him to several different answers about his past and the things this feud has caused.
Overall the story is good. It could have been expanded in many parts like with the riddles and some could have been left out like the relationship between Darby and Emily.
Profile Image for Maggie Thom.
Author 17 books478 followers
June 3, 2016
This was quite an interesting read. The characters are very real and so believable. Silas was a hoot. He was junk mail personified. Such a character. The author wrote this story in such a way that he draws you in right away with some questions - who really is Darby? Why such strong reactions to him? Why was he really returning? Craig C. Charles amps up the mystery by doling out information just enough to wet your appetite and keep you reading. It's really quite an intriguing story that will keep you guessing. Definitely a book for riddle lovers. There were interesting riddles that Darby has to unravel to figure out the truth of what happened in his family, years before.Definitely worth reading.
Profile Image for Kathryn Curzon.
Author 2 books27 followers
June 27, 2015
I really liked this book and thoroughly enjoyed the attention to detail throughout the novel. I was captured from the start and the vivid descriptions of settings and life within the hotel added great depth to the writing. The author's use of language was stunning, a unique voice, and writing in the first person worked really well. Father Callaghan was my favourite character and I laughed out loud often at his rants! I also really enjoyed how the author picked up the pace of the story at just the right moments and held back to keep the reader's attention. I was hooked and this book reminded me of The Da Vinci Code with its dark undertones and pacing. A must read!
Profile Image for Trina Knittle.
168 reviews1 follower
January 11, 2015
Goodreads win. Will read and review once recieved.

One of my favorite things about this book and that also got me wanting to read this book was the cover. it is so beautiful and in my opinion eye catching. It was an easy book to read and was paced nicely. The author's writing style was also one of my favorite things. It had a nice flow that made it easy to keep on reading through the book. I really enjoyed the characters in this book. I can see myself re reading this book in the future.
149 reviews
March 20, 2015
I struggled with the way this was written - in my opinion, it was not very cohesive and there were a lot of grammatical mistakes that had not been corrected by the publisher. The story line and characters never meshed for me and continued to be confusing right up to the end of the book.
Profile Image for Nicole O'Connor.
Author 4 books6 followers
May 25, 2016
A great cover and a well-edited story. The reader is strung along with a series of written clues that need to be solved. It lacked emotion where it counted. However, this was not too gory and it focussed on the intellectual side of problem-solving.
January 18, 2017
Did not care for the way this written. I could never really get the characters together and the flow never seemed to mesh with me. I also felt like there were some errors that needed corrected as well.
Profile Image for Diane Burnett.
242 reviews5 followers
August 12, 2015
Story takes place in and around the Mount Washington Hotel lots of unfinished business for the characters to weave through to solve it all.
Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews

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