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A Distant Grave

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What a fabulous read. I just love finding new and addictive detective series, particularly those with a strong female protagonist. And the icing on the cake, – the dual setting of this book, with the story – alternating between Long Island, NY and in and around County Clare, Ireland – ticks off even more boxes on my “must-read-o-meter”.

For doesn’t absolutely everything read better under “an Irish sky, blue-black,smudged with stars, salt water on the air”?

Lieutenant Maggie D’Arcy is one of that rare breed of perfectly cast female cops – tough, smart, compassionate and at the same time, deeply in touch with, and completely respectful of her “feelings” and the role they play in teaching her what to pay attention to.

Maggie, – as a cop, a mother, a lover, and as the narrator of our story – is one of the best drawn and interesting female protagonists I’ve come upon in a long while. (In my mind, Maggie’s multi-layered backstory, along with the unfolding of her current romantic situation and the challenges she and her daughter are battling, would count as compelling enough to make the book well worth reading, even on its own).

And yet, delightfully, we also have a crime to solve.

“Every crime scene has an immediate atmosphere, visual details you take in unconsciously that your brain uses to create a theory of what happened. My brain is telling me it’s more methodical than it looks.”

As Maggie, and her partner Dave Milich work to find the identity of a Long Island killer, ties to Ireland quickly arise. First, for Maggie in her personal life, as her current love, Conor, resides there, along with her heart and her need to be with him. Secondly, links from the murder victim also lead back to Ireland, providing a plot segue that allows us to shadow Maggie in action (personally and professionally) on both sides of the globe.

And what a wonderful trip it is. As the author so cleverly points out, Maggie knows her job to be all about observing people, “what they do and why they do it”, whether or not all the pieces observed end up tying into the crime at play.

In a setting where “the air is cool and smells faintly sweet, like new grass and gin and honey”, as Maggie gets her “feel for the place”, we learn along with Maggie.

“These small towns never fail to surprise me. It’s all intrigue and secrets, isn’t it?”

The plot dazzles with twists and turns; mysteries hinted at; friends, family, colleagues and suspects to be coaxed into providing their revelations.

And so Maggie and her team have their hands full, right up to the very satisfying ending of this terrific read. The second in the “Maggie D’Arcy” series by this author, I’m happy to know I have another earlier Maggie book to look forward to.

A great big thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for an advance review copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts presented are my own.


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