Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lake of Sorrows: Review

Lake of Sorrows is the second book in Erin Hart's mystery series featuring American forensic pathologist Nora Gavin and archaeologist Cormac Maguire.  This time Nora, who is in Ireland doing research, is called to the scene of an excavation where a very well-preserved body from the Iron Age has been discovered in the peat bog.  It appears to have been a human sacrifice--slain three ways: strangled, throat cut, and drowned.  The area is close to the site of an extraordinary find of Iron Age artifacts found in the past.  Perhaps the sacrifice was connected to the hoard.  It isn't often that such a complete body is found and Nora can't afford to pass up the opportunity to examine the remains.

She barely has a chance to look over the Iron Age find when a second body is found.  But this one is wearing a wrist watch and seems to have been buried about 25 years ago.  However, when the man is removed from the bog, they discover that he bears the mark of the ancient triple death--just like the Iron Age remains.  This makes the police wonder if there is a connection between the archaeological finds and the more recent death.  But as the investigation continues more deaths occur--bearing the same signature marks.   One of the victims is an old flame of Cormac's and suspicion falls on him.  So, Nora and Cormac begin an investigation of their own to try and clear Cormac's name and Nora finds herself in danger when her questions bring her too close to the killer.

My take:  This installment didn't hold my interest the way Haunted Ground did. The first book started out slow, but once it took off I could not put it down and even went to bed late in order to finish it.  This one never did take off. I easily put it down and had to keep urging myself to pick it up again to finish it.  Not the same gripping performance at all  The story was okay.  The developing relationship between Nora and Cormac was okay.  But I didn't feel that same need to know what happens that kept me reading before.  This one also felt a bit more scattered--jumping from character to character and following each one's movements for a short while before jumping to someone else.  I don't remember the flow being quite so erratic before.  

There are some very good moments: between Nora and Cormac and then with Cormac's friend Michael Scully; also between Detective Liam Ward and the pathologist Catherine Friel.  So, some of the characterization was very good at times--just not consistent.  The mystery itself was decent, maybe not quite as fairly clued as I'd like, but okay.  So...for an overall okay experience...three stars.


It was a place that had been ascribed all sorts of magical attributes, the powerful locus represented by the central axes of the crosses on Bronze Age sun discs, from a time when the world had been divided up into four quadrants, North, South, East, and West, and a shadowy central place, which, because it was not There, had to be Here. Where was her own Mide, her center, that point where all the pieces of her life met and intersected at one infinitesimal  but infinitely powerful place? (p. 9)

He tried to tell himself that nothing he'd done or failed to do had made the final difference to her, but in the end, that was the saddest testament of all. (p. 29)

[Gabriel] had been the anchor around which her energy swirled. To Cormac their union had always seemed a near-perfect balance: strong individuals married together to make a separate entity greater than either of them alone. (p. 32)

So much of existence was like that: endlessly, thoughtlessly, self-perpetuating cycles. (p. 34)

Strange how epiphanies arrived in between things, when they were least expected. (p. 82)

It always amazes me how men can go on behaving like such absolute shite hawks, and women still manage to be astonished. Stupid cows. (Maureen Brennan, p. 237)

I'm not sure I believe in spirits, exactly, but I do believe that what happens in the world never really goes away. Everything that has been remains somehow, makes an impression. Some things make stronger impressions than others, but it all leaves something behind, some change, some ripple in time, don't you think? It's probably the best we can hope for. (Michael Scully, p. 244)

Every relationship meant taking a chance, leaping headlong into the void, suspended by hope. And only some were lucky. (p. 301)

Where on earth can a person be spared from loneliness? And I understand it's sometimes far worse when you're surrounded by people. (Michael Scully, p. 312)

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