Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Book Review: The Erlking by Rebecca Yount

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

Synopsis from publicist
When Phoebe Dunbar, the much-younger third wife of New Labour Member of Parliament Lawton Dunbar, is found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs in their Gloucestershire manor house, the local coroner hastily dismisses her death as accidental. But after being contacted by a Quaker elder in Dunbar’s constituency, New Scotland Yard Inspector Mick Chandra decides to investigate Phoebe’s “accident,” now suspecting there may be a link between her death and that of an eight-year-old sexually abused girl whose body was discovered in London’s Islington canal. Recently seconded to the Yard’s Pedophile Unit, Chandra and his partner Detective Sargent Elizabeth Chang are pursuing a notorious pedophile ring based in north London and masterminded by someone who calls himself The Erlking. Learning that Dunbar was accused of sexually molesting the 10-year-old daughter of a local constituent, Mick’s suspicions increase when he discovers the girl’s father unexpectedly received a lucrative promotion with a corporation based in Brussels … after dropping all charges against the MP. Meanwhile, rumors on the streets of north London have it that a prominent Member of Parliament is part of the Erlking’s ring. After Mick launches an investigation into the molestation allegation against Dunbar and his possible connection to the Erlking ring, Mick and his lover, Jessica Beaumont, an American concert pianist based in London, begin experiencing threatening incidents. An unseen stalker follows Jess and during a concert at the Royal Academy, a woman takes a shot at Jess from the balcony. Then, as Mick struggles to expose the identity of the Erlking, help arrives from a most unexpected source.

About the Author: Rebecca Yount trained from childhood as a concert pianist, is a published poet, and worked in education reform, but she always nurtured a passion for storytelling which she has indulged only late in life. Coming from a family of writers, it wasn’t hard for her to put pen to paper, but it took an actual unsolved murder to give her the idea for her first novel. On a home exchange in England—something she and her husband regularly do—a villager told her about a local murder that remained unsolved, even by New Scotland Yard. Sitting under a tree in a fallow field one day, Rebecca began to imagine what might have happened. The result is A DEATH IN C MINOR. In 2010, Rebecca underwent open heart surgery, which left her unable to write for two years. After this hiatus, she returned to writing, deciding to put the entire Mick Chandra series out herself as e-books. She is retired and lives in Virginia with her husband, writer David Yount.

My review: As I came to the last page of Death in C Minor, the first book in this series, I was thrilled as I had a copy of the second book and could start right away. Mick Chandra is at it again with his hard work and dedication to solve the crime. Not only is Mick trying to solve a murder investigation, but he is trying to break into a pedophile ring and find out who is snatching young children in London. Many of the characters from the first book appear in this one to help further the story of Mick and his connection with each of them. Yet, new characters are introduced and you easily become acquainted with them and feel like they have been part of the Chandra group since the first page of the first book. I am in love with Rebecca Yount's writing. She is able to pull in the reader with her incredible use of language and the style of prose that she incorporates in the story. It is detailed and sophisticated in a way as not to intimidate any reader. What I mean by this is that she occassionaly uses words and references that even the seasoned reader might not understand, but for me, it engaged me more in the story and urged me to find out what the words and references referred to, instead of feeling that the author was showing a superiority in her knowledge. For me, I had to get online and search out the pieces that Jessica plays in both books so I could hear what I was imagining in my head.

I wanted to include a quote that shows Yount's writing and her attention to leave nothing out, yet to spur the imagination of the reader to picture a scene in their mind using their own points of reference. "Mick didn't answer right away. He was mesmerized by a hawk swooping and diving over the Commons, presumably hunting a vulnerable rodent. A woman riding as Essex pony through the thick snow appeared on the Commons' horizon. She threw up her arms with uninhibited joy, tilting back her head, and guiding the sturdy pony with her thighs. Against this pristine white canvas, a liturgical drama of life and death was being played out. The hawk swooped down again, and rose back up to the pewter-grey sky carrying something in his talons. The woman on the pony disappeared over the rim of the wold, leaving the blank commons to fuse once more with the sky." I can't wait to read the third installment in this series and I urge you all to get the first two books as soon as possible. I envision a series of movies on these books and can't wait to say I knew Mike Chandra from the beginning.

1 comment:

  1. WOW, that sounds intense. This storyline seems to be a theme this week-I've come across some similar ones in other people's WoW's. I love that cover too-trippy! Great choice!

    rowena of Home Interiors Candles