Title: The Book of Killowen
Author: Erin Hart
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Genre: Literary Mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5
When a body is discovered in the trunk of a car in a bog, people automatically assume foul play was involved. But when, upon examining the body, the corpse is revealed to be from the ninth century, everyone is shocked. How did a ninth century corpse find its way into a very modern car? Archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are called in to investigate, but they discover that there’s more going on at the nearby artists’ colony, called Killowen, than meets the eye and residents there may know more than they’re admitting about the body in the bog.
Nora Gavin’s The Book of Killowen, the fourth installment in her mystery series, is a moody novel that retains the close atmosphere of its predecessors. As a result, this book draws the reader in with its style; the reader presses on, certain that there’s something more to be discovered around every corner. And indeed, Hart juggles multiple storylines, both of the personal and mystery variety, with grace. There’s not a dull moment to be had in this book.
One of the reasons Hart’s mysteries are such a treat to read is that she intertwines the past and present so completely. Nora and Cormac study the past; they are fascinated by what came before us, and that wonder transfers to the reader with ease. Hart’s gorgeous use of language only heightens that experience, such that readers will be swept away by the beauty of the novel.
The history between Nora Gavin and Cormac Maguire, the two main characters of Erin Hart’s series, is tempestuous and passionate. That makes it sound like a cheesy romance novel, but take my word for it when I say that their relationship took time and effort to develop over the course of the last few books. Now that they’re finally together, the connection between the two of them seemed disappointingly lacking. Perhaps it’s because Hart made a conscious effort not to focus on it, instead showing them as a stable couple, but it seemed as though the sparks that usually fly between the two were largely absent in The Book of Killowen.
Despite my issues with Nora and Cormac, I found The Book of Killowen to be a wonderful read. The storyline was fascinating, and while I was able to guess some aspects of the plot twists and turns, others completely eluded me until they were staring me in the face. This was an intriguing read, and it can definitely be picked up as a standalone novel (and without ruining previous books in the series, if you’re inclined to pick them up after reading this) if you’d like to dive right in.
Other books by Erin Hart: