The Sholes Key - A Review
I was so excited when Clarissa released her book THE SHOLES KEY back in May. Not only because she was one of the few of my blogging buddies who wrote in my chosen genre and I could finally feel comfortable playing in my own backyard -- so to speak, but also because I was genuinely intrigued by its premise. Here's the back cover snippet.
All across London, single mothers are vanishing. Margaret Hill, mother of two, walks out of her house and is never seen again. A month later, Carrie-Anne Morgans takes her two-year-old son for a walk in the park and disappears, leaving him alone in his stroller. Lorna McCauley leaves her London flat in the early hours of the morning to buy medicine for her sick child and does not return.
Newly-promoted Detective Inspector Theophilus Blackwell is assigned the case of Lorna McCauley, that at first seems to be a simple case of mid-life crisis and child abandonment.
Elsewhere in London, MI5 analyst, Sophia Evans, is working undercover to catch an animal rights group responsible for targeted bombings. As her case (and her personal life) fall to pieces, she receives a strange envelope in the mail. It contains a picture of Lorna McCauley s lifeless face along with a daunting code.
Now the police and MI5 are forced to work together to stop the murders, and Sophia must find her way into the terrifying mind of a serial killer.
So, if I was so excited about this book, why did it take me three months to post this review? Well, it's certainly not the books fault because it delivered in full! Let's just say that work, life, blogging, and a shiny new ball of my own book idea, all contributed to the delay. But I'm happy to report that when I closed the final page on Clarissa's freshman effort, there was a smile on my face.
In any genre, the characters have to come alive in order to ensnare the reader into the authors world, and not only do her two main characters achieve that goal, but her supporting cast do a fine job of rounding out the interactions and making them all believable. She deftly handles the sprinkling of humor amongst the heavier emotions and never stumbles with the multiple POV's. You care what happens to Sophia and Theo, and that is key (sorry for the pun).
However, in the mystery world characters alone will not carry a novel to the finish line and a multilayer plot with a generous dose of twists and turns is to be expected...and here again Clarissa delivers. The mixture of MI5 spy tactics, everyday police procedural, and the code breaking exercise, did a great job of keeping this reader off balance and wondering what was around the next corner.
Full disclosure compels me to say that there were a couple nit-picks that prevented me from bestowing a five-star rating for THE SHOLES KEY. There are a couple of coincidences that stretch believability (which I'm actually seeing in a LOT of mysteries now a days) and the ending left a few too many unanswered questions for my taste, but by no means should that over-shadow the entire book. I gave it a four-star rating for a solid reason...it is a great read and I'm looking forward to the next story in the series!
Looking for a book to give both your brain cells and your emotions a workout...try this one on for size!