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Reunited with an old flame and guided by a pompous blowhard, Darby sets out on a journey to learn the truth about his family’s past and their ancient blood feud with a ruthless industrialist. Darby’s quest leads him all over New England, from the rare books library at Dartmouth College to Author’s Ridge - the final resting place of the literary greats Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Emerson. Darby discovers family he’s never known and an insidious danger lurking in the arms of a rekindled love.
The North Country Confessional is a romantic suspense/mystery with some really good points and a few points that didn't quite work for me. It had a Da Vinci Code quality with the main characters following clues in the form of riddles that have been left for him.
The main issue was one of characterization. The two main characters, Darby and Emily, are not quite as fully developed as they could be. Even though the book was in Darby's point of view, it was hard to feel like we really got to know him. He didn't seem to really know how he felt himself. Internally, he was dreading going back to Bretton Wood because he was afraid they would make a big deal over him being a war hero. However, he went to dinner wearing his dress uniform plus his medal (and, I might be wrong, but I didn't think that veterans could wear their dress uniform except for specific occasions).
Emily is supposed to be the leader of a multimedia corporation, yet she acts more like a teenager with Darby- sticking her tongue out at him and punching him in the arm. She also blows hot and cold with him emotionally and physically. We find out toward the end of the book what the issue is there, but it's hard to garner any sympathy towards her. She just didn't ring true to me as a character.
On the other hand, and the reason I could not put the book down despite the two characters-- this author has written an excellent mystery. Like I said in the beginning, it reminded me a bit of Dan Brown's works, with the main characters having to figure out what's going on from clues throughout the story. My favorite character, Silas, was instrumental in helping Darby discover what was going on. The action was quick paced and kept me involved in the storyline.
The descriptions in the book were also well done. I could "see" myself in the different locations (and I loved the rare book section!)
The author's writing style is also exceptional. He has a way with phrasing that is almost lyrical and it was a pure pleasure just to read the book because of this. I would be willing to read more from this author. 3 stars.
I found myself trying out MANY different careers. I learned the art of audio engineering and worked at a major recording studio in Manhattan for a while. I learned the nuances of fine wine from a wonderful South African man and sold libations in his high-end store. I sold power transmission equipment as a manufacturer's rep in the Northeast. Next I ventured into the publishing world when I signed on with Yankee Magazine working in their Community Partners Program. It was here at Yankee's headquarters in Dublin, NH that I fell in love with the art of writing and beauty of the Great North Woods of New Hampshire. I met tremendous people and embarked on my own quest to write an engaging mystery novel set in New England. However, I couldn't ignore the internal pull I felt to work with young people. I went back to school and earn a Masters of Education degree and embarked on a career as a special education teacher working primarily with autistic children. This has been my main profession for the past 14 years as I continued to write and work towards mastering the craft of writing. I love the creative process of writing and editing.
In short, I'm a life long learner who continues to absorb all I can about the world around me.
Author Website: www.craigccharles.com
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