by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of Isolation, along with a link to purchase the book.
Faye Longchamp-Mantooth is digging holes. This isn’t too surprising, considering that Faye is an archeologist fascinated with her own family’s history on Florida’s Joyeuse Island. Faye, though, is also digging to escape. A recent miscarriage has driven her away from her husband and her son, and even her adopted daughter isn’t allowed to share in their mourning.
Joe Wolf Mantooth is at a complete loss at how to comfort his wife, as Faye has always been the pillar of strength in their relationship. With Faye escaping from the house every morning and returning late every night, caring for their young son has fallen on Joe’s shoulders. This would not be problematic had Joe not prematurely invited his estranged father to visit in order to meet his new grandchild. Now Joe’s patience is being tested by Sylvester “Sly” Mantooth’s flirtations with the local ladies and a neediness that has made him a motor-mouthed pest.
The last thing the Mantooths need in their lives is yet another tragedy, but it arrives in the shooting death of Liz Colton, whose Liz’s Bar and Grill was a refuge for the Mantooth men. Sheriff Ken Rainey declares the crime a failed robbery attempt, and Faye doesn’t have the strength to question it. She’s already preoccupied with the assertions of Oscar Croft, a recent arrival, who believes that proof of his ancestor’s mistreatment can be found on Joyeuse Island.
In this ninth Faye Longchamp mystery, readers meet an entirely different Faye. Overwhelmed by her emotions and driven by voices condemning her with guilt, Faye is attempting to drown herself in work. Joe is similarly unable to cope, and this man of few words knows even fewer that could help his wife. Through all of this bleakness, the spark that revives them all comes from an unexpected source, and the threat to Faye’s ancestry brings her back to life.
Evans creates an initial atmosphere of suffocation on the island, but she also brings in levity with her witty writing and sardonic characters. The brittle Faye introduced in this mystery is not an easy one to like, so the true surprise is how the author succeeds in making her sympathetic as Faye drags herself out of her black hole. Chapters of diaries from Cally Stanton, Faye’s great-great-grandmother, enhance the novel with historical details. Readers will be fully invested in the Longchamp and Mantooth families, and the joy comes in following their efforts to save their home and family history.
To enter to win a copy of Isolation, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Isolation,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 29, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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