Monday, May 20, 2013

Music of Ghosts

Music of Ghosts
A Mary Crow Novel
Sallie Bissell
Midnight Ink
Llewellynn Publications
Woodbury, Minnesota
April 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7387-3584-9
$ 14.99
384 pages
What college students wouldn't want to stay the night in a haunted cabin? When six students who are volunteering at a raptor center hear the legend of the Fiddlesticks' cabin, they can't wait to find out if there is a legendary ghost. With the legend of a woman and her lover being murdered in the cabin years ago, that just makes it more appealing and an adventure for the students who plan to videotape the entire event.
What the students didn't plan on happening was one of their own being brutally murdered outside the cabin. What was even stranger were the unusual and unrecognizable carvings or writings all over her skin. Is the killer trying to send a message?
To complicate things, the victim just happens to be the only daughter of the former governor of North Carolina. He public ally challenges the local law enforcement to make an arrest, maybe even before all the facts are discovered.
Mary Crow is a local attorney who lives in the area with her boyfriend and his daughter. Since a recent visit to Oklahoma, the nine-year-old daughter has been acting differently and has obviously been influenced by her grandparents who believe that Mary killed their daughter, the girl's mother, and now want complete custody of their granddaughter. The last time the daughter spent time with Mary involved rescuing an injured owl by taking it to the raptor center. This was the night of the murder.
The person in charge of the raptor center is the one who is now accused of the murder of the former governor's daughter. While looking into her life, it is obvious that she had a crush on this older man. However, he didn't seem to know a thing about it, or did he?
With the custody battle taking place in Oklahoma, Mary is free from her family duties and promises and finds herself being asked to represent the accused. She had promised her boyfriend to not be involved in any murder cases, but this is an exception and she plans to transfer this case to another attorney as soon as he returns from Israel. So, did she break her promise?
I find it amazing the this particular novel is the fifth in the Mary Crow series since the characters are so well developed and evolve as the story continues. Without knowledge of the previous novels, Music of Ghosts is outstanding without having read the previous installments.
At first it seems as if the story is disjointed but perfectly interweaves with the resolution complete with a lesson about Sacred Harp music. The tempo of the story is fast with the realistic parts of everyday life being important to each character.
Sallie Bissell spends her time either is Asheville, North Carolina or Nashville, Tennesee. Her previous Mary Crow mysteries were all published by Bantam Doubleday Dell.
The writing in Music of Ghosts is hypnotic and addictive. You can't put the story down as each chapter unfolds passionate intensity. The characterization is phenomenal making each character multi-faceted and having the reader understand their choices, while not always enjoyed reality. Music of Ghosts is a fast-paced hauntingly realistic novel that definitely makes me want to read more by Sallie Bissell.

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