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Thursday, 10 September 2015

‘Mockingbird Songs’ by R J Ellory

Published by Orion Fiction,
22 May 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-4091-2423-8
The seductive power of R. J. Ellory's lyrical prose has been noted before by other reviewers.    The reader is wooed into this novel of suspense in the southern US, although it is far more than simply a crime novel.  One of the two protagonists is Henry Quinn, newly released after serving three years in a Texas prison. 

The second is his former cell-mate Evan Riggs, a man serving life of murder.  Quinn is deeply remorseful and ashamed of the circumstances in which he came to be spending three years in prison, and the mission that Riggs has given him becomes a way of redeeming himself.  He promises Evan that he will deliver a letter to Riggs's daughter, a woman Riggs has never met and knows almost nothing about.   Quinn begins his quest in Calvary, a small Texas town controlled by the bullying local Sheriff, Carson Riggs, Evan's estranged brother. 

The action moves between the 1920s and the 1970's, gradually mapping the circumstances which led to Evan Riggs (a promising C&W singer) being incarcerated for life and cleverly meshing with Quinn's own story.  Arrived in Calvary, Quinn quickly hooks up with a local wild-child and the two of them find themselves involved with far more than a simple search for a missing girl, coming up against a series of against brick walls erected by a number of conscienceless players at various political and small-town levels. 

Brilliantly plotted, brilliantly written.  I can only say that it is a Do-Not-Miss read.  And once read, I would recommend that you read all Ellory's other books, if you haven't done so already.
Reviewer: Susan Moody

R J Ellory  was born in Birmingham, England in June of 1965. Roger began his first novel on November 4th, 1987 at the age of twenty-two., He completed twenty-two novels, most of them in longhand, and accumulated several hundred polite and complimentary rejection letters from many different and varied publishers.  Roger stopped writing out of sheer frustration and did not start again until August 2001. As of 2012, RJ Ellory had published ten novels, the most recent entitled A Dark and Broken Heart.  Candlemoth, his first-published, was shortlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger, as was his fourth, City of Lies, in 2006. His fifth novel, A Quiet Belief in Angels, was selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club in the UK, and was subsequently translated into more than twenty languages including French, Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, Japanese, Brazilian, Swedish, Norwegian and Lithuanian. All of Ellory’s works will be released by Overlook Press as original US publications in the foreseeable future.
He is also the singer and guitar player of the band, The Whiskey Poets(

Susan Moody was born and brought up in Oxford.  She has published over 30 crime and suspense novels, including the Penny Wanawake series and the Cassandra Swann bridge series.  She is a past Chairman of the British Crime Writers' Association, a member of the Detection Club, a past Writer-in-Residence at the University of Tasmania and a past President of the International Association of Crime Writers.  She divides her time between south-west France and south-east Kent.   Nominated for the CWA short story award.  Nominated for the RNA's award. 

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