Brooke's Reviews > False Mermaid

False Mermaid by Erin Hart
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's review
Mar 03, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: 2010, mystery
Read from March 11 to 12, 2010

I think this one was greater than the sum of its parts; I'd give this a 2.5 if I could. False Mermaid is the third Nora Gavin mystery. In Haunted Ground (which was lovely) and Lake of Sorrows (a solid mystery), we'd heard hints about Nora's murdered sister and the mark the unsolved mystery has left on her. False Mermaid has Nora traveling back to the US from Ireland in order to finally solve the mystery.

The cold case nature of the crime led to one of the book's weaknesses - I'm not sure that I buy that some of the evidence Nora found this time wasn't found when her sister was first killed. The author does explain why each clue eluded her previously, but some of them were far more plausible than others.

The cop who was assigned to the case in the past helps Nora again this time, and he's given a sub-plot that's beyond distracting and half-baked. I think the author wanted to flesh out her new supporting character's background, but it didn't do the book any favors. It really felt forcibly shoved in with no eye to whether it added to the book.

Finally, there's some mystical seal stuff going on which felt a little over the top. I think it would have worked better if the author hadn't tried to include the selkie myth in both Nora's and Cormac's plots. Again, like the cop's sub-plot, stretching the selkie myth over to Nora's side of the story just felt like it was forcibly added rather than something that truly made sense to the story.

In the end, I enjoyed it and it went fast, but many of the pieces of the story had me scratching my head. I far preferred the first two books in the series (trilogy?) and would have rather seen Nora tackle another body found in the bog in Ireland. The Irish setting of the first two books were part of what made them so interesting.
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03/11/2010 page 121
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Martha Excellent review! That's just how I felt. I hope we can get back to bog bodies now.

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