Saturday, December 9, 2017


If Songs of Innocence was simply another John Blake mystery, a sequel to Aleas's serviceable first novel, Little Girl Lost, it would still be a pretty good read. But it's much more than a simple sequel, outshining the first book in every conceivable way. It begins as just another detective story, with the retired Blake putting his detective hat back on to investigate the death of his classmate and lover, Dorrie Burke.

But things get darker as the book progresses, pushing Blake further and further into the abyss as he begins to discover the kind of collateral damage that his actions, his mistakes, as well as his discoveries ultimately lead to. It really is better than it has any right to be, crushing its mystery genre expectations and ascending into tragic crime opera territory. And like the best mysteries, the conclusion isn't as cut-and-dry as many would expect. 

It's hard to pinpoint exactly how the book achieves the effect that it has, but at some point I became completely engrossed! I've been tired of standard mysteries lately but this is one of the best detective stories I've read in a while, right up there with the best of Lehane, Mosley, or Lawrence Block. If you have any interest in crime or mysteries, put this one on your list.
I hadn't meant to end up this way, counting the dead, apologizing to the ghosts of the dead women I'd loved. 
But here I was, with apologies to make and so little time to make them.

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