Tess And Po With Elements Of Reacher And The Lottery. This is only my second Tess and Po book, but I’ve quickly fallen in love… and noticed the basic pattern. (Which is the same basic pattern most books of this type have. Brief interlude of “normal life” leads into some inciting incident – in this case, Tess and Po stumbling into a mother and child in peril – leads to an investigation which leads to action. It is a successful pattern given how often it is employed across so many books, and it is well executed here.) When we get to the investigation/ action stages is when this book evokes one of the more memorable Reacher tales due to the similarity of the enemy faced (controlling militia type). And then we bring in elements of the ultra-creepy The Lottery to boot. Completely a Tess and Po story, but the common elements serve to enhance it even more (assuming you’ve read those tales, anyway :D). A final note: This *is* deep in a series of investigative/ police procedurals. It can work as a standalone/ entry point as long as you don’t mind seeing more advanced stages of the investigative team’s life together, but if you’re a reader that doesn’t like any level of spoiler of previous books, you’re going to want to start at Book 1 and get to here. Because if you do start at Book 1… just go ahead and buy the entire series. You’re going to want to have them on hand as you finish each one anyway. Hell, I’m already wishing I had Book 9 in my hands, and this one doesn’t even release to the public for nearly a month! Very much recommended.
This week, we’re changing things up a bit because I noticed that a release wasn’t getting the attention it deserves and the book that was going to go in this spot has a fairly powerful marketing machine behind it. This week, we’re looking at When It’s Time For Leaving by Ang Pompano.
This book is really as laid back as its setting, along the gently flowing waters of the Savannah River just outside Savannah, Ga. It opens in a similar setting in coastal Connecticut, and also has a scene at the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia and northern Florida. It even references a region upriver from Savannah at Augusta, GA/ Aiken, SC (the two towns are on opposite sides of the River) known to locals as the Central Savannah River Area, or CSRA. Since starting this book blog I’ve lived in the northern Florida area, but I lived in and near the CSRA for several years before that and have been in the Savannah region several times. Since this book is one of few I’ve seen not named Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil set in the region, it had my attention from the beginning.
The mystery and action are just enough to keep the plot driving along – starting with our hero being involved in a major car crash in Connecticut that kills a suspect he is chasing and flowing with dead bodies, people being attacked, mysterious notes being left, and concluding with an epic showdown in the River itself. But the real star here is the area itself, and despite being a Yankee himself, the author really nails the actual feel of the region. Yes, we have our hot summer nights both on the water and not. We have our animals dead set on killing us if we don’t leave them alone. We have our crazy neighbors and our hot coworkers with high libidos. And we have our family members slowly losing their minds to Alzheimer’s.
Truly a great mystery, even if not in the action packed vein of a Reacher novel or the crazy whodunit plot twists every other page Gone Girl mold. But when you’re in the mood for a more relaxed yet enjoyable time, reach for this one. You won’t be disappointed. Very much recommended.
And as always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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Reacher Being Reacher. This is Reacher number 23, and kind of in the middle of the pack overall. Not the best Reacher story, but not the worst either. Third person again, and while the bad guys are truly bad, they aren’t quite as bad as I was fearing – I thought early on Child might be going for more current headlines ala the last Reacher tale, and instead he shifts into something that is rumored online but which I’ve never seen actual evidence of. Don’t start with this book if you’re new to Reacher, but if you’ve read even a single Reacher reading this one out of order won’t be a problem other than introducing certain new wrinkles that could be interesting going forward, should Child decide to pursue them.