Book Review – Rest for the Wicked by Ellen Hart

Thanks again to Carl Brookins for sharing his reviews. Blogger was not cooperating earlier today when I tried to post this. Sigh…..
by Ellen Hart
ISBN: 978-1250001863
A Minotaur hardcover and Kindle
2012 release
So readers know, the author and I are friends, often travel together as the Minnesota Crime Wave and occasionally consult about writing crime fiction. I believe I retain my critical abilities at a sufficient level to fairly judge her novels as well as those of other author-friends and acquaintances. This is an interesting novel from several directions.
As is the case with nearly all Hart’s novels, this one is smoothly and carefully written. The characters are alive, interesting and, at least in the case of three in this novel, people I think readers will continue to want to follow. Two of them are old friends, Jane Lawless and her alter ego, Cordelia Thorne. The third is Jane’s new love interest, Avi. I hope we’ll see more of her in the future.
The setting for this story is a new one for Jane who has acquired her Private Investigator’s license and is now discovering that owning restaurants and being a PI requires even more than two full lives. It will be interesting to see how her creator handles this new development in Jane’s life. I particularly liked the running theme in which Jane has to deal with restaurant personnel who don’t operate quite the the way she did.
The main setting is a strip club in central Minneapolis called Gaudy Lights. The many absorbing scenes in the club are potent, rich with meanings and possibilities. They amply demonstrate the skills of the author, as do her character sketches. The major plot deals with murder, murder with roots reaching back fifteen or twenty years to terrible acts. Yet the initial murder which opens the book serves mainly to bring Jane into the case, since the victim is related to her mentor and hospitalized PI partner, AJ Nolan.

That killing and the subsequent fallout are, in my view, plenty strong enough to carry the book. Other material, particularly some that involving a relatively minor character, a pilot, I found to be distracting and unnecessary.

The novel is well-written and moves almost entirely at an appropriate pace. I really enjoyed the book, although in my view it is not as strong as The Lost Women of Lost Lake. However, I have no hesitation in recommending Rest For the Wicked to the widest possible audience for crime fiction.
Carl Brookins  BLOG:  -BOOKS:  Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky

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