I am very conflicted about this book. On the one hand there are quite a few things I did not like at all – the character of the detective for one. Mark East is overbearing and supercilious. He is a PI but the way he lords over the sheriff, who is shown to be real pathetic in discharging his duties and further takes orders by East so meekly that it beggars belief.
Secondly, the writer throws you in the midst of a certain characters who she assumes you know but not having read the first book I was totally at sea and how many times will we be told that it was unbearably hot and humid. It came to a point that I was ready to shake East and ask him as to why he had decided to come to such a place if he knew it was that bad in summers.
Lastly, I have always found it disconcerting to see children address parents by their names and to read a nine year old girl addressing her father thus was really offensive to me.
On the other hand, despite all this, where the book scores – and scores big – is in the tension that the author creates. The oppressive atmosphere and the feeling of something BAD about to happen is done so well that I got the chills (it got to the point where I stopped reading it in the night and curled inside my quilt) and am quite looking forward to reading more by this author. Thus, the four stars though had Goodreads allowed half stars, I’d have given it Three and a Half.
First Line: It was five o’clock in the afternoon and the burning August sun still registered contempt for time.
Series: Mark East# 2.
First Published: 1945
Source: Open Library