Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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Like the best of his crime-writing colleagues, Cook (Breakheart Hill) uses the genre to open a window onto the human condition. In this literate, compelling novel, he observes the lives of people doomed to fates beyond their control and imagination. One character here comments: "If you look back on your life and ask, What did I do?, then it means that you didn't do anything." Elizabeth Channing is trying to change the path of her life as, in 1926, she arrives to teach art at a small boys' school located in the Cape Cod village of Chatham. Believing that "life is best lived at the edge of folly," she immediately enthralls the novel's narrator, Henry, the headmaster's son. But Elizabeth is drawn to a fellow teacher, Leland Reed, a freethinker who is unhappily married and has begun to have serious doubts about his life. The inevitable tragedy and its aftermath is narrated by a mature, melancholy Henry looking back at the strange, bleak fates of those involved. Cook is a marvelous stylist, gracing his prose with splendid observations about people and the lush, potentially lethal landscape surrounding them. Events accelerate with increasing force, but few readers will be prepared for the surprise that awaits at novel's end. Literary boundaries mean little to Cook; crime fiction is much the better for that. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

In 1926, the exotic Miss Elizabeth Channing arrives in Chatham, Massachusetts, to teach art at the Chatham School, a private school for the rebellious sons of well-heeled families. The headmaster assigns his son, Henry, to assist Miss Channing in getting settled into her new home, a cottage on Black Pond. To the dismay of the community, Miss Channing begins keeping regular company with another teacher at the school, Mr. Reed, a veteran of the Great War who is married and has a small daughter. The affair begins slowly, but it sparks unimaginable romance in young Henry's fervid teenage imagination and leads to murder, suicide, jail, and loneliness for those involved directly and indirectly. Cook's novel takes the form of Henry's memoir--an attempt to understand what led to tragedy at Black Pond. Like much of Cook's previous work, it is the story of how our secrets control our destinies. This is a powerful, engaging, and deeply moving novel, highly recommended for all who enjoy well-crafted, genre-bending crime fiction. --George Needham


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Old secrets exhumed form the basis of this tale by the best-selling author of Breakheart Hill (Bantam, 1995). (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The destruction that passion can wreak is well demonstrated in this austere new novel by the author of Breakheart Hill (LJ 7/95). From the August day in 1926 that Elizabeth Channing comes to teach art at a private school outside Boston, Henry Griswald, son of the headmaster, finds himself a willing accomplice in the love affair between Channing and Leland Reed, a World War I veteran and fellow teacher. Now a bachelor in his seventies, Griswald looks back over a year in his adolescence that culminated in violent death and the destruction of innocent lives, a year that taught him the dangers of strong emotions. Although none of the characters except Henry is well developed‘it's particularly difficult to understand what attraction the lovers have for each another‘Cook effectively builds the tension through the use of foreshadowing. This well-written, genre-stretching mystery starts slowly and delivers a powerful ending. Appropriate for public libraries of all sizes.‘Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.