October 29, 2012

Wild Thorn by William Hoffman

Apparently this book is part of a series. But don't let that worry you too much, I didn't realize that until after I read the book, and I don't think it effected the story at all (although who knows what I'd think if I had read the first book). Regardless, it was complete on its own and a decent read.

Charley LeBlanc decides to return back to Virginia to the place of his birth. Along with his girlfriend Blackie, they arrive only to find that a beloved person from his past has been found dead and perhaps murdered. Doing some sleuthing of his own, Charley turns up some inconsistencies in the case, the foremost being that a local wild woman named Esmeralda is the main suspect and the murdered woman her only friend. Knowing some other secrets about Esmeralda, Charley knows that she couldn't have committed the crime. But the more evidence he tries to turn up, the deeper in he gets himself.

Blackie was probably the best character in this book. Even though I didn't particularly like her, she was well written and her character very complete. She felt as if she could be real and had very real emotions. Charley was ok in comparison. Sure he had his shadows in the past as well, but his personality was all over the place. We were told he was a certain way, only to have him do something against that told nature and it didn't make sense sometimes. And even though he was the main character, I never really felt attached to him in any way. All the side characters had a little bit of depth to them, you knew who the good and bad guys were (for the most part) and they all had their little quirks to them. Even though we never actually meet the dead woman, we known enough about her from the stories from other characters and Charley's remembrances that she actually is one of the better characters in the book.

The book started out a little slow at first and I was almost dreading continuing with it. But it did get better and by the end I was glad I had finished it. It may not be the best book I've read in awhile, but it had decently written characters and a unique tone brought on by the dialect of the area. There are some hard themes throughout the book, like murder, rape, violence and of course coarse language. It serves to make the book realistic though and along with the tone of the book, it does seem as if you could be somewhere in Appalachia witnessing everything that has happened. Sure there are some unbelievable aspects (like Esmeralda's story)but even that has some realm of possibility, just a very high odds one. And I was a bit disappointed with the ending, I had expected something quite different than what happened.

I would probably go back and read the first book in this series. And even the third one that there seems to be a setup for. It's just nothing that I will be rushing to get my hands on.

Wild Thorn
Copyright 2002
293 pages

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