Friday, August 17, 2018

FFB Review: See Also Murder: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery by Larry D. Sweazy

I grant you the obvious concession that a novel published in May of 2015 does not really fit the concept of a “Forgotten Book.” At least, a publication that recent should mean the book is not forgotten. Yet, I don’t think author Larry D. Sweazy gets anywhere near the level of recognition he should. I find that especially true in the latest one, See Also Proof, where Marjorie is dealing with a lot. Much of the read has hit very close to home for me. While the book in itself is excellent, I am having a very hard time reading it as a major theme is smacking me very hard.

So, as my small part of FFB today hosted by Todd Mason over on his Sweet Freedom blog, I thought I would remind you all of my review from June 2015 of See Also Murder. The first book in what has become an incredible series. Like all good series this one needs to be read in order as the characters age and evolve. Jumping in at book three and working your way back simply won’t do.

 I have always felt a deep kinship with Marjorie. I don’t know why. Beyond the decades that would separate us, there is the fact that she is living a farm life in the Dakotas and I have always been a city boy, though I did have my time outdoors in the mountains as a youngster. We have little in common, no matter how you look at it, and yet my bond with a fictional character has reached an even deeper level in the new book. I can’t explain it. What is…is.

Just go get the book and get started.  And, as many others have said over the years in far better ways than I ever will, if you care about somebody, let them know. They can be out of your life in a blink of an eye and leave you broken and alone.

Living on a farm in Stark County, North Dakota in July of 1964 is hard, but it isn’t winter and that helps a little bit. Things are harder for Marjorie Trumaine than most because she is trying to manage it all pretty much by herself. It has been that way since her husband, Hank, had his hunting accident that left him blind and paralyzed. He spends his days, except for a rare trip away from home, lying in their bed unable to care for himself or the farm they both love.

The Knudsens on the next farm over were there for Hank and Marjorie long after everyone else in the small community got on with their lives and forgot about them. Erik, the father, supervised his sons, Peter and Jaeger, while they did chores on the place after they had finished work on their own farm. Lida, their mom and Erik’s wife, brought food for months while Marjorie and Hank slowly adjusted to the catastrophic change in their lives. Over time that help as well as Marjorie’s ongoing job as a freelance indexer has allowed them to survive in their new normal post-accident reality.

The news that Sheriff Hilo Jenkins brings Marjorie this July morning is hard to deal with on any level, but especially now after everything that has happened in recent months. Erik and Lida have been brutally murdered while they slept in their bed. Their sons, Erik and Jaeger, are physically fine as they slept through the murders in their home. Sheriff Jenkins does not believe the boys had anything to do with it though he does intend to question them about the murders. He does believe an amulet found in Erik’s dead hand plays some role in the case.

Marjorie has a reputation, one that she has tried hard to control and stifle, as being the smartest person around. She can’t help using words that many in the area don’t know or understand. Her love of books and knowledge has only increased the last several years as she has built a career of freelance work of writing indexes and meeting deadlines. What began as a source of extra income is now her sole escape from reality as well as the primary source of income  for the family. Sheriff Jenkins wants Marjorie to figure out what the amulet means so that he might figure out who killed Erik and Lida. It is his only real clue and he wants her role in the case kept secret. She reluctantly agrees to help it is the least she can do for the Knudsens – the living and the dead.

What follows is a very complex and highly atmospheric mystery by award winning author Larry D. Sweazy. The North Dakota landscape is a constant character presence in this novel that blends history and lore, a mystery full of twists and turns, and the role of family (by birth and other means) into a read that quickly pulls the reader into a different time and place far from home. Recently published by Seventh Street Books, See Also Murder: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery is a highly addictive read that will keep you reading far past your bedtime. It is very much well worth your time.  

See Also Murder: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery
Larry D. Sweazy
Seventh Street Books
May 2015
ISBN# 978-1-63388-006-1
Paperback (also available in audio and eBook formats)
256 Pages

Material supplied for my use by the good people of the Plano Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2015, 2018

1 comment:

Larry D. Sweazy said...

Thanks, Kevin!