Saturday, January 24, 2009

REVIEW: The Fault Tree

Title: The Fault Tree
Author: Louise Ure
ISBN: 9780312375850/ St. Martin's Minotaur, 2007
Rating: C

First Line: At the end, there was so much blame to spread around that we could all have taken a few shovelfuls home and rolled around in it like pigs in stink.

Having read Ure's first novel, Forcing Amaryllis, and really enjoyed it, I picked up The Fault Tree with a sense of anticipation. Her main character, Cadence Moran, is a blind auto mechanic in Tucson, Arizona. She has an uncanny ability to pinpoint engine problems by sound, and she likes to work later than everyone else in the shop, taking advantage of the quiet to do her best work. One night she finishes up, locks the shop, and begins her short journey home. She hears a strangled scream and the sounds of people running to a car. The next thing she knows, the car accelerates and almost runs her down. The next day she finds out that a woman was murdered, and she tells the police of the sounds she heard. The killers don't know that Cadence is blind, and they know that they have a witness to silence.

The first two-thirds of the book were good. The reason for Cadence's blindness is revealed in small snippets which don't interrupt the flow of the action, and trying to deduce the identity of the killers was engrossing. However, I had some problems with the book. Cadence is indeed a strong and interesting character, but I found her eagerness to accept blame for anything and everything tiresome--even though I knew the reason for it. I just wanted to tell her to suck it up and stop making such a big deal of herself. No one person is responsible for everything that goes wrong!

The other problem I had concerned the last third of the book. As long as I was trying to guess the identities of the killers, the book was very suspenseful, and the pages flew. But their identities are revealed too soon, and the suspense went up in smoke. In addition, many of the action scenes at the end felt "Hollywood" and cliched. This is really a case of the ending turning a very good book into an average one. Will I stop reading Louise Ure? Heavens no! Her next book, Liars Anonymous, is available in April. I've taken my place in line!


  1. What a pity the ending did not live up to your expectations! When I began reading your review, I thought that this was a book I just had to read because of this unusual main character. But I don´t like guilt-ridden characters either.
    Sometimes I wish someone would take a book like that and write a proper ending :)

  2. Oh, I hate when there's no mystery left in a mystery. Great review.

  3. Thanks for your honest review. The plot sounds great. I love this kind of mystery.

  4. Dorte--I don't know which is worse: a book that's just not good, or one that is very good and then fizzles out at the end?

    Thanks, Kathy and Margot!


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