"Was Farley the sole owner?"
"As far as I know."
"Try to keep the store running for now. I hate to ask--" Preach opened his cell phone again, displaying the photo of the corpse--" but could you take a closer look at the body? We found two small crosses on Mr. Robertson's chest. Have you ever seen him with those, maybe on a necklace?"
Ari took the smartphone and enlarged the image. Her eyes widened as she brought the photo closer. "The head wound," she said after a moment, in an oddly subdued voice, "could it have been cqaused by the back of an axe?"
"I suppose," Preach said. "Why?"
"And those crosses...I don't suppose they're made of wood and copper?"
The detective exchanged a sharp glance with Kirby. The junior officer shifted to a more alert stance, and Preach's eyes bored into Ari, "How'd you know that?"
"So they are?" She was staring at the photo, now with a dazed expression.
"One wood, one copper. Does that mean something to you?"
"I don't know what it means," she said, "but the wound, the position of the body, the crosses: those are the exact details from the murder of the old pawnbroker in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment."
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|Creekville, Doug Seward|
But, as usual, I was drawn to the main character, who I'll be calling by his nickname, Preach... First, I hope that the author will allow this character to stay with us in more than this book. I, for one, want to spend more time getting to know him. His is a backstory that you need to read to fully understand. In his present life, he was hired as a law officer with the understanding that he would be visiting a psychologist to certify him able to work in potentially dangerous situations.
But in the meantime, a murder has occurred--the first in ten years... and Preach has just returned to his home town where he was hired... He is the only individual, besides the chief, who has experience in working murder cases...
I found my reading pace slowing as the literary story evolved. There is much that provoked thinking for me, in addition to the specific merge of murder with previously written novels. The various characters are drawn from both the earlier time when Preach lived in Creekville, who still live in town, as well as those who have moved there since then. I will add, briefly, that Preach had a traumatic emotional breakdown and had left town without saying goodbye to his close friends, and turned his life completely around, including becoming religious... Watching Preach try to deal with the rejection of old friends, as he tries to deal with a new job, working with new people, and then being caught and placed as lead in a complex series of deaths, has naturally put an emotional strain on him...
One bright light is a young woman who is a law student, working part-time at the bookstore that was owned by the first man murdered...She and Preach spend considerable time with research of the books from which murder scenes are drawn and this added interest for me as the crime scenes were viewed, discussed, with hints for Preach to use... For me, this was far beyond the CSI type of murder investigation--rather it was the intellectual psychological probing that pulled me in
completely... And as the murder count moves to three, Preach believes he knows who the fourth victim will be...
But, I hadn't a clue! Well, I picked up on one possibility early on as a motive...So, remember, that you'll have to spend time considering all information being discovered... and, I am sure, you still will not arrive at the correct conclusion! Great! Fantastic! I love when I'm totally surprised!
In fact, when I finished at 2 am this morning, I closed the book and immediately thought, "magnificent mystery..." And then I thought back over the hundreds of mysteries I've read and couldn't remember one which had kept me so totally clueless to the very end!
Layton Green has definitely been added to my favorite author list. I read my first book from this author in 2011 and quite recently enjoyed his world of magic in The Brothers Three and The Spirit Mage. His multi-genre novels gives readers a wonderful chance to expect the unexpected with Green... In this latest one, his attention to detail of setting, characters, and psychological profiling, together with the literary angle is far-reaching... It's heartwarming in all the right places, exciting in dealing with the local criminal element who seems to be involved with just about everything in town, informative as we explore the meaning behind four stories that have been popular over the years, while providing a totally unsolvable mystery that brings awesome surprise and admiration in analyzing bits of pieces of information that ultimately fall...right...into...place... in a stunning climax. Altogether Exhilarating for me!
In addition to writing, Layton attended law school in New Orleans and was a practicing attorney for the better part of a decade. He has also been an intern for the United Nations, an ESL teacher in Central America, a bartender in London, a seller of cheap knives on the streets of Brixton, a door to door phone book deliverer in Florida, and the list goes downhill from there.
Layton lives with his family in North Carolina. You can also visit him on Facebook, Goodreads, or on his website (www.laytongreen.com).