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Enter the giveaway to win your copy of "THE MYSTERY OF MERCY CLOSE." Contest runs May 13th to May 21st, 2013. Open to U.S. residents only.
The Mystery of Mercy Close is the first novel I have read by multi-time author Marian Keyes, and I have to wonder why I haven’t discovered her before. Keyes’ writing is quick-witted and highly refreshing, and with that she has written a novel that is just plain entertaining.
Her protagonist Helen Walsh is an opinionated, loud mouthed, difficult woman that you can’t help but love. At one minute she is filled with determination to solve the mystery and the next she is hopelessly depressed and considering ending it all.
Rounding out the quirky cast of characters are Helen’s slightly off kilter parents, her ex-boyfriend Jay Parker with his questionable ethics and constant badgering for a second chance, members of a washed up boy band all with their own personal demons, and of course her new lover the handsome and sexy Artie Devlin. These cohorts all are well planted into the story and frankly are what makes this wacky mystery shine.
Without giving away too much of the plot, the story goes like this. In the midst of rehearsing for a comeback reunion concert, The Laddz, a washed up Irish boy band, whose members incidentally all need the money earned from the show to keep their heads afloat, lose track of front man Wayne Diffney, an integral member of the group. The slightly frantic band enlists the services of the down-on-her luck P.I. Helen Walsh to find him, and fast. The investigation has to be kept out of the media as it could potentially ruin the ticket sales causing investors, some of whom are on the nefarious side, to lose a bundle of cash.
Piecing together leads in a frustratingly slow fashion Helen comes up empty handed and fears she may not be able to solve the case which could be detrimental to not only her livelihood but most likely her own life. Added to the fire is Helen’s recurring bout of depression that could possibly sideline her case, and a mounting debt load that she needs to address if she has any hope of enlisting the help of “information specialists.”
The Mystery of Mercy Close is a twisted soap opera-esk classic who-dun-it story with thugs, drugs, alcohol and adultery all tied up and packaged in a pretty little ending. I highly recommend the read.
Hardcover Edition: ISBN: 9780670025244, 400 pages $27.95
Disclaimer: The ARC of this book was given to me by the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.
Be prepared to be wowed by the depth of writing from first time author Kristopher Jansma. He shows moments of brilliance as he develops plots within plots and seamlessly switches between past, present, and everywhere in between. You can’t help but think Jansma had great fun writing the book and it plays out on the pages.
Spoken in first person narrative, Jansma plays with the mind of his readers as he never actually reveals the true identity of the narrator. Personally I found it intriguing. It keeps the reader off kilter guessing who is actually telling the story and wondering if at some point they will find out. A mystery is always good right?
Likened to Salinger, Capote and Hemingway, Jasma has no difficulty pulling off not only a book of literary fiction, but one that is filled with humorous undertones and a cast of eccentric characters. An example of which is Jasma’s haunted Julian McGann, also named Jeffrey and Anton depending on which story his is written into, a brilliant writer who sequesters himself with nothing but cases of alcohol and cigarettes, chained to drunken madness, shutting out the world as he weaves his thoughts into novels. Could Jasma in fact be channeling Hemingway with McGann’s character?
The polar opposite to McGann is the narrator; a man as it turns out, that has questionable morals. He lies, drinks and sleeps his way around the world living off the backs of people. He uses a different identity in each of his incarnations; professor, writer, college student and scorned lover. He loves Evelyn who is a friend of McGann’s, a Broadway actress from a wealthy family, who marries an Indian Geologist, Japanese Royal, or a Luxembourg Prince, no matter who, it is another man.
The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards is a tale of enlightenment and self-awakening, a coming of age story. The book reads like it contains a moral left for the reader to decipher in their own way. For me was about making the right choice, be it good or bad. For others it may be completely different, or they may not find a moral at all. All I know is the book was refreshing. It is one of those all engrossing reads that you are sure to keep picking up, a friend to crawl into again and again. Bottom line, the book is un-put-down-able.
Hardcover Edition: ISBN: 9780670026005, 254 pages $26.95
Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Viking/Penguin Group for an honest and unbiased review.