Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Review for the Mystery Lovers

Tide Water Talisman
A Luanne Fogarty Mystery
By Glynn Marsh Alam

This author’s mysteries are listed as the Luanne Fogarty Mystery series – but don’t be deceived, the main character as in all eight of her books is the Florida swamp. I came to this series when the first book was fresh off the presses. I have enjoyed every book since.

Perhaps I’m most engaged when the author sends Luanne into the caves and hidden spaces beneath the Palmetto River and ‘totally immerses’ her in the swamp. At those times you can see the ghostly Spanish moss swaying from skeletal trees, hear the insects’ songs, and feel the heavy humid air pressing against you like the spirit of the swamp looking over your shoulder. And the water, always the water, moving on never stopping, lazily accepting everyone and everything that falls into it.

Tide Water Talisman gains relevance in today’s world of post-Katrina recovery. Refugees from that devastated area have set up a small enclave of businesses and trailer homes near Luanne’s swampy home. But they start turning up dead.

Luanne and the Sheriff’s department for which she works part time as a ‘civilian’ when not teaching linguistics at the nearby college, rely on Pasquin. This eighty something neighbor is part of the local grapevine and knows all of the stories, all of the people, and most of the swamp’s secrets. The secondary characters are so colorful in this series that often Luanne seems to blend into the background and they take over. But it is her voice that narrates the novel, so she is never far from the reader’s thoughts.

There are many ways to die, as we learn from this book, yet all come as a surprise. Put death in a swampy Florida river and you’ve got a mystery with atmosphere so real you’ll smell the earthy lagoons, and hear the buzz of mosquitoes as you turn the pages.

The read is all too brief. I always wish her books were longer. LONGER! Hear me Glynn???