13 1/2 by Nevada Barr

November 29, 2009 at 9:39 pm Leave a comment

Great review today by crime fiction reviwer Margaret Cannon in her Globe and Mail Books column (boldface mine):

By Nevada Barr, Vanguard Press, 320 pages, $32.95

This is not an Anna Pigeon novel, but Barr’s legions of fans shouldn’t pass it by. This stand-alone thriller is one of Barr’s best books ever and, once begun, it’s hard to stop reading her harrowing story of bloody murder.

In a note at the beginning, Barr says she has had the idea of a story about a child who murders his family for several years. Her killer is 11-year-old Dylan Raines, “the Butcher Boy” who, in 1968, killed his parents, baby sister and family cat with an axe. The only survivor of the carnage was his older brother, Rich, who, seriously injured, managed to call for help. Rich stands by his little brother through a decade in a juvenile facility and then a new life in New Orleans.

But Dylan hasn’t changed, not really. And as love, in the form of a gallant and lovely woman, herself brutally abused as a child, comes into his life, it appears that the old secrets and fears of the past are about to emerge and explode in her present.

Barr builds this story with her usual intelligence and knack for chilling suspense. You will figure out the “who” on this one pretty fast. It’s the “why” that intrigues, and she saves that one for the very final pages.


Published by Vanguard


Entry filed under: Vanguard.

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