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Friday 27 February 2015

Blood Lake’ by Kenneth Wishnia

Published by Turnaround,
18 September 2014.
ISBN: 978-1-6048-6430-4

Having recovered from lung cancer, Filomena Buscarsela heads for Ecuador, to spend time with her teenage daughter, Antonia, and her extended family. However Filomena soon finds that the state is watching her, for reasons she can’t quite understand. Then the priest who transformed her life is killed ...

You can’t help but warm to a book which begins with a completely tangled flow chart labelled ‘This frontispiece is provided as a means of clarifying the Eucadorian political situation’. As Filomena gets involved in politics, it doesn’t matter that neither she nor you understands exactly what’s going on at times; the fun is in the action, which is non-stop, and it ends up with a very satisfying surprise perp. Filomena is an engaging narrator, smart, sassy, and resourceful, with great one-liners and a huge, helpful family. The novel’s given added emotional depth by her re-engagement with her past as a teenage revolutionary, and by the beautifully-written dream sequences as she becomes ill from altitude sickness when escaping over the mountains. Most of all, the description of Eucador itself is totally absorbing: the slum houses built in a swamp, the seedy hotels, the mountains, the poverty and resilience of the people and the determination of those who want to change the corrupt system. As you read, you feel you’re there.

A fast-action thriller that also transports you to a different world. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Kenneth Wishnia was born in Hanover, NH  to a roving band of traveling academics. He earned a B.A. from Brown University (1982) and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from SUNY Stony Brook (1996). He teaches writing, literature and other deviant forms of thought at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood, Long Island, where he is a professor of English.
Ken’s novels have been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, and Macavity Awards, and have made Best Mystery of the Year lists at Booklist, Library Journal, and The Washington Post. His short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Murder in Vegas, Long Island Noir, Queens Noir, Politics Noir, Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail, and elsewhere.
Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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