REVIEWS FROM CARYL HARVEY
Caryl Harvey lives in the eastern plains of Colorado (Kent Haruf territory) with her husband of many years, her adopted sons and an ever-changing line of foster children. She writes non-fiction under her real name and fiction as Anne Caryl. Visit her author website to learn about her two newest "babies," THE GOLD TRAIN CONNECTION and BACK TO REASON. Caryl says of her alter ego, "She's the funniest little old lady I know."
Foster Parent Website
THE BOY IN THE SNOW
M. C. McGRATH
Viking Press November, 2012
Most marriages don't survive the death of a child. Edie and Sammy Kiglatuk's didn't, but enough feeling remained intact that when Sammy wants to enter the Iditarod race, Edie joins his support crew. She hadn't counted on getting lost in the Alaskan wilds, or on seeing the Spirit Bear that led her to the tiny ceremonial hut in the forest. And she hadn't counted on finding a baby's corpse.
The police immediately settle upon a Native man... a member of a mysterious Russian religious sect called the Old Believers... as their suspect. And there is an offshoot group called the Dark Believers, Satanists who might practice human sacrifice, so rumor says. But things are just too neat, and the facts don't match the theories. Edie's Native instincts tell her there is something more, and she enlists the aid of a policeman friend in her investigation.
When another baby is discovered dead, and the main suspect himself dies, Edie is certain someone else is to blame for the dead children. But pressure to back away surfaces from the police, from a politician desperate to be Alaska's Governor and from an avaricious land developer. Edie might relent, if she were not haunted by the faces of the young Russian girls who, she suspects, are being trafficked. And there is the face of the baby in the woods. And the face of her own son. It is hell to lose a child. Maybe even worse than the horror the young Russian girls face, and maybe the horrors are two sides of the same sin.
The people behind the murders are ruthless. But there was a reason the Spirit Bear led Edie to the frozen child in the snow. There is a connection between man and the land. And there are some things that no one can fix. But you have to try.
THE BOY IN THE SNOW is the second of M.J. McGrath's novels. She also writes non-fiction about Alaska and its Native people. The pictures she paints are far from the neat houses and northern lights of Sarah Palin's world. McGrath's characters are earthy and spiritual, clinging to the old ways even as they embrace technology. Her settings are magical and her plot so convoluted that readers dare not put down the book for fear of needing their own Spirit Bears to guide them to the denouement.
- Caryl Harvey
CAGE OF BONES
Pegasus Books February, 2013
The house is slated for demolition. It's secluded, creepy and decidedly malevolent. The walls are peeling, the flooring smells dank and putrid. And the steps to the cellar are none too sturdy. But it's what the demolition crew finds in that cellar that breeds the evil.
A cage. A cage of human bones.
The cage imprisons a boy covered in his own filth and - maybe - someone else's blood. When Detective Inspector Phil Brennan responds to the call, the scene disturbs him. It's violent and stomach turning, and it is vaguely familiar.
Someone else is watching the police presence with great interest; the serial killer who built the cage, who imprisoned the boy and spattered the blood. It is a discomfort that his lair has been discovered, but not a tragedy.
As the body count rises, a terrified city demands the police solve the crimes. But solving them, for Detective Brennan, means stepping into the maw of another horror which petrifies him even more than the cage of bones.
When Author Tania Carver has nightmares, they must be doozies. After all, the woman can conjure up a vision of complete evil and heart-pumping terror in broad daylight (or at least in the light over her keyboard as she puts the images to words.) Her story line is tight. Her characters are well-drawn and sympathetic. Her imagery, like a night terror, leaves just enough in the shadows of imagination. After only a few hundred words, readers will begin to turn the pages with reluctance, but compelled to find out "what's making the noise in the dark."
- Caryl Harvey
YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW
Zebra pb 2/13
The dream is the same. Sweet two-year-old Noah calling her name, reaching out for her just before he topples into the water and drowns. The nightmares had stopped for a while after she returned from the mental hospital, but they are back. And they are one of the few memories she has of her son; she can't remember her pregnancy or his birth. But it's been two years and the trauma... well, you know what trauma does to the mind.
At least that's what her husband tells her. And what she hears from the pretty psychiatrist her husband keeps close at hand. It's what she's told by Dern, the handsome foreman who keeps the stables and watches her every move. And from her extended family, who share her mansion and hover around her like flies on a carcass. She almost believes it... almost accepts that the cries she hears from the nursery are her own tortured thoughts, until she finds the microphone and the recorder that has been piping those cries into her room. Until she unearths a doll dressed to look just like her son, buried in a grave in her yard. Until people start dying.
Lisa Jackson is adept at creating menace, at least the kind that keeps readers up at night. Her characters are believable and, although it is apparent from the first that this is not a ghost story, the reader isn't sure where the plot is headed. Jackson expertly holds one after another of her characters up to the light of the reader's intuition, offers them as suspects, then tosses them aside. Who is gas lighting Ava? No skimming ahead on this one... readers will miss out on some really good sleight of hand, a few dropped red herrings and a hot love story. RECOMMENDED.
- Caryl Harvey