Tuesday, March 26

REVIEW: Behind Lace Curtains

(A copy of this review has been posted to the Gossamer Court's Book Reviews section.)

From Amazon:

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"Healthy college students, safe at home, asleep in their own beds, do not die of natural causes. Or do they?

When conflicted New York City photographer Jake Preston is called upstate for the funeral of his former lover’s young brother, he is unwittingly lured into a maelstrom of dangerous secrets and waking nightmares. While searching for the true cause of Keith’s death, Jake falls under the spell of Claude and Madeleine Devereux, a pair of malevolent, psychic parasites who convince him that he is more than flesh and bone, blurring the line of demarcation that separates Main Street reality from the truth that lies hidden just on the other side of a lace curtain."

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Behind Lace Curtains is a 578-page murder mystery novel. I was provided with a free copy of the book in return for an unbiased, non-reciprocal review. (I do not include synopses in my reviews - check the book's Amazon or Goodreads pages for that info.)

I admit that I normally shy away from murder mystery novels. It's not because I don't like them, it's because they're a dime a dozen -- next to grocery store romance, I'm of the impression that mysteries are perhaps one of the most popular genre out there. Thus, it's much harder to stand out. Everybody has a clever idea or you probably would never have even seen their book, much less read it. You've got to have more than that, and I think Synborski managed to take it to a level that is very much worth the read.

The book is on the long side, but rather than being bogged down with excessive description or too much irrelevant information, the space is used to advance the plot and endear me to the protagonist. You'll hear me say this in a lot of my reviews -- I MUST have a reason to care about the protagonist's plight, or nothing the author does to them will matter to me. In Behind Lace Curtains, I am afforded enough quality time with Jake Preston to get what I feel is a true understanding of who he is. Synborski makes me want to turn the next page because I am presented with a three-dimensional hero who's fate is important to me. Likewise, several of the supporting cast members have appropriate levels of development for their roles.

Another point of appreciation for this book is its versatility. I get to experience the same plot throughout such differing venues as New York city, and bayou New Orleans. Synborski clearly has a clear range of understanding for both such environments to make them feel truly believable, and I noticed I was completing larger sections of the book than I had planned with each sitting.

My complaints are minor and basically superficial. I noticed a few grammatical issues here and there, but I personally am willing to accept such things when they are not overbearing (people tend to forget that even the most professionally edited manuscripts will still have a few errors -- it is simply inevitable even when the book is on a shelf at a store). There are also two spaces after every period. This I also can't really complain about either, as it took me a long time to leave this particular meme behind myself, but it is a bit jarring when reading text printed in a variable-width font.

I won't say much about the actual mystery because I don't want to give anything away, but the plot itself, combined with all other aspects of the story, make for a compelling read that I would certainly recommend, for overwhelmed mystery enthusiasts that are looking for their next gem in the sea.


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