The search to find the name and home of a barefoot young girl wearing a tank top and shorts on a cold March night leads Ironton, N.J., Detective Frank Nagler down the twisting, dark path of a family whose history has ensnared many victims, including a nun from Nagler’s youth and Calista Knox, a companion of Nagler’s best friend. The third Frank Mystery, “The Weight of Living,” brings Nagler and his friends dangerously face to face with an evil that knows no bounds and threatens to consume anyone in its path. It is a story with twists and turns as Nagler fights through layers of lies and half-truths and searches a sketchy past to bring the chance of healing to the damaged, and a criminal to justice.
“God has given me many tasks. This is the last.” – Sister Katherine Marie.
Michael Stephen Daigle is a writer and journalist who lives in New Jersey with his family. He had an award-winning career in journalism including time at newspapers in Massachusetts, Maine and New Jersey. He is the author of the award-winning Frank Nagler Mystery series: "The Swamps of Jersey" (2014); "A Game Called Dead" (2016) A Runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Awards; "The Weight of Living" (2017) First Place for Mysteries in 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Contest; Notable 100 Book in 2018 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest; Distinguished Favorite in 2018 Independendent Press Awards (2018). "The Red Hand" (2019) a Distinguished Favorite in the 2019 Big NYC Book Contest Named Second Place winner for mysteries in the 2019 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards Named a Notable 100 in the 2019 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Awards Kirkus Reviews: "A winning origin story for one of modern fiction's expertly drawn detectives."
What a great read! A complex plot in a gloomy setting with characters honed to perfection. Detective Frank Nagler is one of those characters that could be real; intuitive, dedicated, but with baggage and a soft spot. My kind of guy. I’m not usually drawn into a story like I was this one. I finished the book in record time.
The author avoids sensationalism here. As dark as the plot gets, what stands out, as usual, are the characters and dialogue. There is never a lack of scandal in Ironton, New Jersey, a city whose glory days are in the past, but where a few good people hope to make real and lasting improvements. Police detective Frank Nagle is one of them. One of the best things about this series is that readers can start anywhere and not feel like they are missing out on so much. The author is very adept at giving enough of the backstory to whet readers; interest in going back to earlier novels. Characters who have appeared in earlier novels of the series reveal some surprising things about themselves in this book. The author makes it all fit together in a fast-paced riveting story.
Daigle hits his stride in this third Frank Nagler Mystery. The characters are strong and convincing, and the plot is unpredictable, with sudden twists that take even a careful reader by surprise. The setting is dark, unsettling and gritty, a northern NJ city caught up in the aftermath of decades-long political corruption and financial hardships. Detective Frank Nagler is the last honest man in this city, the white knight who defends the weak and downtrodden. Of the three books in the series, this is the one that pulls out all the stops and tells a story of such depravity and evil that there will be times when you pause your reading and you’ll want to wash your hands. But it’s in this juxtaposition of the dark and light that the exquisite tension of the story builds, the decency and strength of the Nagler character is revealed and the sordid mystery of the little girl left filthy and neglected in a dumpster unfolds. This book is recommended reading if you’re looking for an inventive plot and boldly drawn characters.
THE WEIGHT OF LIVING by Michael Stephen Daigle balances its thriller tenets with solid characters, razor-sharp dialogue, and a breathless plot that careens from one realistic scenario to another. The narrative is a stunning and engrossing meditation of grief and survival that examines the insular world of Ironton, New Jersey whose past is clouded by everything from a devastating flood, to the near extinction of viable business opportunities to slimy politicians.
Frank Nagler, an investigator with the local police department has seen it all. His latest foray to the dark underbelly of Ironton involves a young girl discovered standing shoeless in a dumpster clad only in a tank top and shorts. The weather is freezing and the girl isn’t talking, either because she is unable to or chooses not to.
The tale unfolds as several characters ranging from our stalwart protagonist to an array of complex characters who each adds insight and ultimate resolution into the intricate and deeply troubling mystery.
Daigle has provides an engrossing portrait of a town and its residents that examines the pain inflicted by long buried secrets as he couples these with tension and a pensive sadness that hooks the reader and never lets up.
How do you uproot evil that has been buried for generations by money, greed, connections, and political bribes? Detective Frank Nagler is about to unearth a whole load of it as it crisscrosses the nation and comes back to roost in Ironton, NJ. When a young girl is found inside a dumpster, an investigation is initiated to learn her identity but she's not talking. Not a sound. Not even a flutter of an eyelash to indicate a response to questioning. If that isn't enough of a challenge, now Nagler is even suspicious of the information his friends and colleagues are supplying. Although this book is a part of the series (Frank Nagler Series), do not be put off from reading it. The author does an excellent job of delivering each story individually. If you enjoy a good crime mystery, read this one.
I don't read mysteries often, but this one looked interesting. It's part of a series, and after reading this one, I may have to read the others!
The author has crafted a well-written thriller, with ample twists, turns, and tension. There was good character development and the plot was solid. I was especially impressed with the descriptions of exquisite detail. Somewhat surprisingly, there were no sex scenes between Frank and his woman.
If you like well written mysteries, read this series.