Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Review: Cape Refuge by Terri Blackstock

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About the book: Following their horrific double murder, the family and close friends of Thelma and Wade Owens struggle to come to terms with their deaths. However, suspicion casts a shadow over the family and residents living at Hanovah House (a halfway house for ‘undesirable’ characters). Cade, the Police Chief in charge of the investigation, struggles to piece together the events surrounding the murders and to identify who might be responsible. This is a novel full of suspense, and the author takes a ‘drip drip’ approach to revealing the characters’ many secrets.

Review: I was surprised at how quickly I became emotionally involved and had begun to form judgements about the main characters in the story; the hot-headed Jonathan, the main suspect, the superficial town mayor and Blair who appeared so antagonistic towards God,  or anyone, for that matter, who expressed faith in God.

I particularly enjoyed liked the author’s conversational style of writing. I felt drawn into the story... as though I was witnessing firsthand the events as they were unfolding. I sensed the heaviness that Blair and Morgan were feeling, the incredulity following Jonathan’s arrest, and even frustration with Cade as he desperately attempted to solve the double murders.

Initially Sadie’s character seemed out of place in the story – an irritating distraction from the main plot. However, as her storyline developed, Sadie became a welcome relief and drew the focus away from the tension and heaviness of the main plot. Humour was also used to lighten what was, at times, a rather depressing story line.

If there was a weak aspect to this story, I felt it was the author’s portrayal of Gus. I found the constant use of the word ‘mon’ rather irritating, as well as the numerous references to the big black man wearing the red bandana. I thought this offered a rather stereotypical and shallow portrayal of Gus’ character.

That aside, I really enjoyed the book. The story was an intriguing one so I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars. I would definitely read more of Teri Blackstock’s books.

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