Stranger: A Death Valley Mystery
Sometimes the road to ruin is often paved with good intentions. That is the motto of most of the characters in Stranger: A Death Valley Mystery. The good intentions of Police Detective Will Stellar leads him down a path he will never recover from, and the good intentions of sibling Ric and Alex Delgado makes their quiet life more frantic. Stranger, the second novel by Melissa M. Garcia, starts off with a dead body in a motel, and the book twist and turns until it is full of more red herrings than a Seattle fish market. Garcia uses a unique blend of movement and dialogue from each person in the book and gives everyone a personality, a soul, and a hint of life.That realness helps in making almost anyone a killer, and it left me guessing until the very end.
Another intriguing device used by Garcia is the use of the “whydoit?” Many times, a crime novel cares more about the mysterious “who” and the killer’s identity. In Stranger, we get a refreshing new outlook on how important the motive is to a crime. Any two-bit hood with a gun can be a killer, because murder is an effect. The book wants you to care about the cause, and the importance of each character. With the skill of a painter, Garcia creates beautiful and soulful players for her play. At the end, I was as conflicted about the real killer as was Detective Stellar. Another thing that worked was the theme and how each person was dealing with the same problem in different ways. Everyone had a similar conflict of family over duty. This is a mystery novel done right and is as enjoyable as a cool drink on those hot desert nights.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Author||Melissa M. Garcia|
|Page Count||295 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Mystery, Crime & Thriller|