by Sandra Murphy
& J.R. Lindermuth
Enjoy this review of The Limping Dog by J.R. Lindermuth and guest post by J.R. about the setting of The Limping Dog, and at the end of this post you can enter for a chance to win a copy of the book!
Every family has its secrets. It’s when those secrets threaten to come out that lives are in danger.
Gavin Cutter just wants to paint—scenes of the ocean, rocks and to have the paintings good enough that people can smell the salty water, just by looking. While out painting one day, he sees a sailing ship, but this one is not behaving as it should. A woman walking her dog on the beach shouts a warning when it suddenly turns and heads for the reef. Cutter is the first aboard, followed by two local sailors. The ship seems intact, the wheel tied down, no one aboard except a limping dog.
The dog adopts Cutter and life goes on until TJ Flood, an insurance investigator with secrets of his own shows up to finalize the case a year later. As lies begin to unravel, the main questions are: what happened to the four men aboard the ship, why did a non-sailor like Ron Myers decide to take a sail, why didn’t the police report mention the woman with the dog and who is searching for something removed from the ship?
The plot thickens as they say, the more the investigators find out about Myer’s business, his cousin’s death (and how did his cousin’s fingerprints end up at Cutter’s a year after the man’s death in a burning car crash?), and why did a man whose wife rescues cats, adopt a dog?
In a small town, it’s hard to hide unless it’s in plain sight. While the reader may guess some of the secrets, many are only revealed at the end of the book. It’s said to write a mystery, first have a stranger come to town. In The Limping Dog, that stranger is TJ Flood. The question is: will he be able to leave?
To enter to win a copy of The Limping Dog, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Limping”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 22, 2012. U.S. residents only.
By John Lindermuth
Setting is an essential feature of many mystery novels. Think Sherlock Holmes and you’re immediately transported to Victorian London. James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series and you’re off to Louisiana. Tony Hillerman—the Four Corners country. You get the point.
My Sticks Hetrick series is set in a fictional community near Harrisburg, PA and my faithful band of readers have become as familiar with the streets of Swatara Creek as they have with the regular cast of characters.
The Limping Dog, on the other hand, is a venture into fresh territory. Though I don’t identify a specific place, it’s clearly the New England coast. This rugged setting was inspired by a visit to Cape Ann, some 30 miles northeast of Boston, Mass. Founded by Pilgrims in the 1620s and named for England’s Queen Anne, the coastline retains a scenic beauty that has long inspired artists and writers.
Inhabitants of this area have a tradition of rugged independence which is fast fleeting in modern society. The place and people appealed to my imagination and when I began writing this story I recalled images that fit my needs. I warn you, though, don’t look for any of the towns mentioned in the novel—they exist only in my imagination.
The characters in the novel also reflect impressions of that stubborn streak of independence referred to above. Gavin Cutter, an eccentric artist living in an isolated village, is among a handful of witnesses who see a yacht crash onto a reef. The first aboard the wreck, Cutter rescues a dog, the only living creature on the vessel. Ron Myers, wealthy owner of a growing computer firm, and the crew of the ship have disappeared without a trace.
That provides the initial mystery which brings T. J. Flood, a former detective now working as an insurance investigator, into the story. He’s immediately attracted to Dee, Cutter’s daughter, another example of that independent breed, and they join forces to investigate the ship incident and the strange coincidences surrounding it.
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