Monday, October 17, 2011

Through The Heart--Kate Morgenroth

I've been in a dry spell of good mysteries lately. Several new-to me authors that I would be busily tapping my foot to come out with new books are busily writing screenplay adaptations for existing work (Gillian Flynn), concocting new stories (Tana French) or have released new material that requires reading a backlist that goes back to the early 90's just to remember what's going on (S.J. Rozan, who took a nearly 10 year break after 9/11 but is back to publishing Lydia Chin and Bill Smith stories).

But I picked up Through the Heart at Costco and wound up reading it so slowly to make it last. It's a good, smart, unusual mystery novel. It breaks format in that by the third chapter we've been introduced to our two major characters, Nora and Timothy, and know one is dead in a B&B. But which one? And why? And who did it?

Nora and Timothy alternate telling the story of how they came to meet in Nora's small Kansas town and fall in love. Nora has moved home to take care of her mom, who has cancer. Timothy has been dispatched to meet with Warren Buffet, but takes a roadtrip that leads him to the coffeehouse where Nora works.

Morgenroth does great characters--Nora's very capable and aware of her choices and what has brought her back home. Timothy isn't a white knight--he's more screwed up and on the cad side of the morality scale. But I bought that these two would have an attraction to each other and that they would for various reasons be a pair. And my rooting for them lead me to forget about that dead body that is hanging over the narrative. And Morgenroth layers her story with a meditation on what it means to love someone, the games and changes that brings, and questions of if we all deserve love. It's an excellent read.

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