Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Unkindness of Ravens by M.E. Hilliard

 

First Line: Growing up, I remember liking Trixie Belden better than Nancy Drew because she got into more trouble.
 
After coming home to discover her husband's body, businesswoman Greer Hogan turned her back on her life in New York City. Becoming a librarian, she found a job she loved in the small town of Raven Hill and worked hard to put her painful past behind her. But when she stumbles upon the dead body of her best friend at the bottom of a staircase in the Raven Hill Public Library, Greer finds herself in all-too-familiar territory.
 
Having found the body of her friend, Greer naturally is at the top of the police's suspect list, but she hasn't read all those mysteries for nothing. Greer is determined to find the killer. What she doesn't realize is how many secrets she'll uncover in her quest for justice.
 
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I came close to not finishing M.E. Hilliard's The Unkindness of Ravens or at least deciding to skim through sections, but I'm glad I didn't. Why did I come so close to giving up? Because it took three-quarters of the book before everything began to click. Why did I persevere? Because there would be an occasional quip or literary allusion from the main character, Greer Hogan, that convinced me she was one character worth getting to know.

Greer's husband was murdered, and the entire experience-- from finding his body all the way through the court trial-- was so painful that she had the strength and will to put it all behind her and start a whole new life. Her experience as a businesswoman and as a librarian makes her especially adept at organizing her days so she has time to be an amateur sleuth. She's also level-headed and has a strong sense of self-preservation. Intentionally putting herself in danger is not her style, and she shares her discoveries with the police. Toward the end of The Unkindness of Ravens, I found myself cheering Greer on to victory, which is always a good sign. 

Hilliard created a good, solid mystery, a fantastic setting, and an interesting, likable main character. The action in the book leads inevitably to the next book in the series. What I'm hoping for in that second book is much-improved pacing and more highly developed characters-- especially Officer Jennie Webber, whom I found very intriguing.

Once everything began to click, this book became an enjoyable read, and what's not to like about a public library housed in an old mansion that's so Gothic and Jane Eyre-like that one expects to see the first Mrs. Rochester glaring out from an upstairs window? When all is said and done, I find myself looking forward to meeting Greer Hogan and Officer Webber again soon.

The Unkindness of Ravens by M.E. Hilliard
eISBN: 9781643856957
Crooked Lane Books © 2021
eBook, 336 pages
 
Amateur Sleuth, #1 Greer Hogan mystery
Rating: B-
Source: Net Galley

8 comments:

  1. I do love the library setting for this one, Cathy. And the premise is interesting, too. Hmm....I know what you mean about a book taking a while to click; that happens to me. I'm glad you found it worth the read in the end, though.

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  2. Cheering the main character on to victory is indeed a good sign! I love a main character who is "adept at organizing her days". I'm glad you took the time to persevere to the end.

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    1. If the author hadn't created characters like Greer and Jennie, I wouldn't have kept going.

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  3. Sounds like your patience with this one was well-rewarded. I'm struggling with one right now that I'm about 125 pages into, and I've put it aside for the last three or four days because nothing about the book "clicks" for me. The plot descriptions sounds great...and then I am either bored or confused by it, depending on the chapter. But 125 pages is almost too deep in to just quit...

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    1. I've given up on a book after reading more pages than that, but it's a rare occurrence.

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  4. A reader/friend told me to deduct my age from 100 and then only read the number of pages in the remaining number to figure out if it's a DNF or to be read. I don't often do that, but I have given up on less or kept going out of determination, but not out of interest, given a recent reading experience.

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    1. I don't use a set number of pages as a guideline. It's purely subjective. I once stopped reading a book by page six when a character was introduced. Nothing about the writing style had grabbed me yet, and when that character walked into the room, I said, "He's the killer," turned to the end of the book, saw that I was right, closed the book, and chose another one.

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