Angie Lisle's Reviews > Signs in the Blood

Signs in the Blood by Vicki Lane
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really liked it

A 3-star start with a 5-star ending.

Appalachian literature, a story within a story: modern-day Elizabeth is helping a neighbor try to figure out what happened to her son, while the memory of Sylvie, who once lived where Elizabeth lives, still clings to the landscape and the people who remember her. This technique helps convey the evolution of Appalachia from then to now.

At first glance, the meandering descriptions and plot could appear to be the mistake of an amateur writer, which Ms. Lane was at the time of publication. The book starts slowly, with an overload of information that winds up being an illusionist's trick to redirect attention. As the story progresses, the writing style begins to multi-task (and, honestly, I'm impressed by the delivery). The story-telling mimics the shape of Appalachia, wandering about much like our creeks and roads, slowing one down to a pace more suited for this neck of the woods. The language and sentence structure is reminiscent of the mountain ballads - the old, dark ballads that ain't afraid to show some spilled blood. That's a clue about the whammy of an ending for little Sylvie's story but one I completely ignored because the modern-murders themselves are covered in the way that reminded me of a cozy mystery - brief and at a distance, no one has to clean up the blood. So when we find out what Mr. Tomlin did to poor little Sylvie...it's a hard punch in the guts to see the matter laid out in plain sight and, when paralleled with the criminal activities that Elizabeth sees unfold, hints at a fear that is still present and active in the world today (and may be happening to some of the unmentioned victims of the story's modern crime, if one thinks about what could happen next, after this particular crime is committed - which sends shivers down the spine). I don't want to give spoilers but I will say this - people who are sensitive to fictional violence should avoid this particular book; however, I highly recommend this book to folks who love the old ballads and the bloody folktales attached to them.

I look forward to reading the next book in this series.
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Quotes Angie Liked

Vicki Lane
“She had welcomed the lengthening days of spring, and now that May was here, with its profusion of flowers and garden work to be done, she hoped that the joyless cloud that had so unexpectedly settled on her last fall would finally lift.”
Vicki Lane, Signs in the Blood

Vicki Lane
“Her bed faced three large uncurtained windows that looked due eat, and she loved the endless variety of sunrises that greeted her from day to day. Growing up in Florida and in the suburbs, she had never realized how the sun paced back and forth through the year, like a restless dog on a tether. During the winter it rose far to the southeast and skulked along the ridgeline, disappearing in mid-afternoon. But now it rising a little past due east, on its way to the northeast where it would achieve the summer solstice, then begin the slow day-by-day journey back to the winter solstice. Watching the sunrise, with its reminder of the endless and inevitable cycles of life, was, she thought, her version of religion.”
Vicki Lane, Signs in the Blood


Reading Progress

February 6, 2013 – Shelved
April 23, 2016 – Started Reading
April 23, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
April 25, 2016 –
page 173
43.25%
April 28, 2016 –
page 344
86.0% "Incest and pedophilia, pretty descriptive. Ugh. I hope she kills the bastard."
April 28, 2016 – Finished Reading

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