239. A Little Death in Dixie by Lisa Turner

A Little Death in Dixie by Lisa Turner (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 298
Ages: 18+
Finished: Nov. 4, 2010
First Published: Jun. 4, 2010
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Genre: mystery, Southern Fiction, Southern Gothic
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Cops like me won't admit it out loud, but a lot of us believe murder has its right time and proper reason.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Bell Bridge Books.

Reason for Reading: I love Southern fiction and am always game for mixing my favourite genres, this time with a crime mystery.

The publisher's blurb tells us that a notorious socialite disappears and it's either because she's off on another drunken spree or perhaps something more sinister has happened. Then it hints at the story being more complex. So, with only that information to go on I really was not ready for the incredibly twisting, turning, complex plot that I found myself plunged into. As the publisher's blurb states "a complex spider's web of tragedy, mystery, suspicion, and sordid secrets". I thought that was typical overstatement to get one to buy the book, but no, it really describes the book in better words than I could come up with. Leaving it there, I'm not going to tell any more of the plot either, because it is best to let it all unravel not knowing what is going to come next.

I positively loved this Southern mystery which takes place in Memphis. The two main characters Detective Billy Able and Mercy Snow, sister of the missing person, are both fully fleshed, flawed and realistic characters. This is a stand alone book but I certainly wouldn't mind seeing them turning up again in a series. Every single person in this story has a skeleton in the closet or a dark secret, no one is totally innocent, even if it be only from withholding the truth. This cast of characters are dark, devious and eccentric bringing the Gothic flavour to the suspense. As the story progresses it becomes about so much more than a missing person, various other crimes are involved and the shocking reveals come out of nowhere.

Now, I did find the plot a little over the top, somewhat unrealistic in places (but again those are common Gothic elements) and possibly unsolvable by the reader because of the plot twists. There was so much going on though that I didn't even try to figure out who did what; I found myself just quickly turning the pages eager to find out what could possibly happen next and how it would all turn out in the end. A well-written and complex suspense novel. As Ms. Turner's first novel, I eagerly await what she will present for an encore.


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