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Is this stranger really a ghost? Is he a friend to Inspector Jane Doe or is she about to be his next victim?
Inspector Jane Doe, head of Melbourne Homide Squad is on leave recovering from near fatal head injuries from a serial killer. Her idyllic stay at the isolated cliff top cottage turns into a nightmare as she confronts a ghost, gifts of flowers with threatening messages. Is her friendly ghost in fact planning to kill her?
Exhaustion had started to creep into her body. The warm fire made her very drowsy. He's right, I must get to bed soon. Instead, she fell asleep in the armchair next to the fire. She dreamed of naked bodies flying through the air and the flowers lying on the ground and floating in the ocean. The normally deep blue of the sea was now red with blood. The flowers were dead. Why? She was alone and it was dark and cold. An indistinguishable figure stood in the shadows of her dream, wearing a balaclava! Her mobile phone seemed to ring. When she answered it, all she heard was Oliver's voice repeating, 'You shouldn't be there alone!' 'You shouldn't be there alone!' that's what Oliver said before I left. Jane tried to answer but she could not speak. Next, without warning, her body was suspended in the air. As she looked down, she saw waves crash onto the jagged rocks below. At this point, the subconscious part of her mind sent her back into the conscious level by hurling her down a black, deep abyss, but to her surprise, not down to the rocks. She was dropped breathless into a bed of dead flowers.
Review by: Howard Hopkins
All About Murder Reviews
Detective Jane Doe is hot on the trail of a vicious serial killer, a
killer with a propensity for bashing in his victims' faces and rape. Lured to a darkened warehouse on a phone tip, she quickly discovers she has played right into the madman's hands. With murder on his mind, he plans to end her investigation--permanently. Fortunately for her, another detective arrives in the nick of time and prevents anything worse than a serious head injury.
After a brief hospital stay, Jane decides on a little R & R and takes a
Leave from her job, prepaying a month's rent at the rustic Cliff Cottage. Once there, however, she finds herself embroiled in a tangle of dark secrets and a forty-year old murder that appears connected to the recent serial killings.
She soon meets up with the handsome and mysterious Ryan O'Byrne, whose
Wife perished in the exact manner as the other murders. Within a short
period, flowers with cryptic warnings start appearing on Jane's doorstep and a friend is brutally murdered. A dark figure in a balaclava is glimpsed at the scene--the same man who attacked her in the warehouse. However, the only witness has a bit of a credibility problem.
Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Australian coastline, Flowers
From the Grave is a charming mystery. The author conveys a bubbly enthusiasm for her material and a felicity with the details of the Aussie countryside. The local vernacular lends an authentic and warm atmosphere to the tale and as an aside it was interesting to note Australians call their doctors mister instead of doctor. I can only imagine trying to get away with that with the doctors in my state.
On the minus side, the novel could do with sharper editing and a
Stronger focus. A bit more attention to red herrings and resolution, as well as certain plot points, would have helped strengthen the tale's
underpinnings. All in all, a nice effort from a talented newcomer.
Read some great reviews of mysteries, thrillers and true crimes novels.
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A smart, but sentimental detective!
In this, the first in the “Jane Doe” series, Wendy has introduced us to a smart but sentimental detective. She sets the location very early on in her author’s note, which is helpful for those who are not familiar with the region. It also helps to the set the scene for the story with the cliffs and the sea.
Throughout the story Wendy manages to keep the reader’s interest by introducing new ideas and we are constantly waiting to find out what is going to happen next. At the beginning of the book we see Jane Doe being attacked and left for dead, which leaves us thinking that maybe the hero is going to die before we even get to know her. However, she makes a good recovery and it is her convalescence that gives us the story that is about to unfold before us.
As the story progresses we see Jane enjoying some time on her own, allowing her to think about her future and what she wants to do about her relationships. Gradually all this changes into her obsession with a strange and haunting man about whom we are told very little to begin with. During this part of the story I found I could easily work out the truth about Ryan despite Jane not being able to figure it out, but again Wendy handles this aspect of the story extremely well and keeps us guessing at the whole story throughout.
I found the book very easy to read and very hard to put down. In this carefully thought out plot the story moves along, not necessarily at a fast pace but certainly in an intriguing fashion and the element of the paranormal keeps you guessing at the end of every chapter. It was the kind of story that twists and turns and just as you think you have worked out the ending, so it changes completely and you find out that you are going down the totally wrong path. I read a lot of mysteries and detective novels but the outcome of this one took me by surprise and true to form I could not decide who the killer was until all was revealed at the end. There was also a little shock towards the end, which totally threw me off guard and did nothing to help me work out the conclusion.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first introduction to Jane Doe and am very much looking forward to the next book in the series, as this will no doubt take a totally different direction yet again.
Revied by Linda Green (readerfrom UK)
5 stars highly recommended
Flowers From The Grave .............Molly's Reviews
Reviewed first for author
Title: .Flowers From the Grave
Genre: Action Thriller
Author: . Wendy Laing
Line/Publisher: . Writers Exchange e-Publishing
Release Date: . 2002
Entertaining Read 5 stars Highly Recommended
Inspector Jane Doe is on the trail of a serial rapist/murderer. Set on the South Coast along Great Ocean Road Victoria, Australia this tale follows Jane in her pursuit of the madman before she almost becomes his next prey. Most of the murdered women have been prostitutes, however it does not take too long before Jane discovers murders of two women who do not fit the pattern.
When Jane is attacked by the vengeful psychopath she goes first to hospital and then to Cliff Cottage to convalesce. It is while there on Shipwreck Coast that Jane begins to really unravel this baffling case. Jane is astonished to realize that her chief source of help and inspiration into a long unsolved matter is what appears to be a ghost. The ghost of a man whose wife died at the hands of the man who is now trying to kill Jane herself.
Adding to Jane’s turmoil is the fact that her sweetie is less than enamored of her police work. A wreath of dead flowers, lighthouses, a long unsolved mystery and a strawberry birth mark all figure in this gripping tale springing from the prolific intellect of Wendy Laing.
Writer Laing’s excellent research methodology prior to commencing any of her tales once again holds her in good stead. Added to that careful groundwork is Laing’s obvious love for the beauty she describes in her Aussie homeland.
Flowers From the Grave is an bang-up little chiller sure to grasp the reader right from the opening as Jane confronts the maniacal murderer in a dreary warehouse where Jane nearly loses her life. Evocative of the tension dispensed by Martine Jardin in her Blueprint For Revenge writer Laing presents a cleverly wrought work filled with the sounds of the sea, the scent of liquor on the murderer’s breath, terror filled moments broken only through the ministrations of an other worldly figure and good police work. As in Melinda Rucker’s Ghostly Acts the preternatural is an integral and wholly believable part of the work.
The writing found in writer Laing’s enthralling chronology is coruscating, well thought out and downright exciting to read. Filled with captivating settings, down to earth dialogue, fiduciary interplay between the characters and a winning plot theme Flowers From the Grave is an exciting read meant to be savored.
Tension between Jane and Oliver is something we can believe as the pair struggle to deal with their caring feelings for one another set against the danger of Jane’s work and Oliver’s understandable wish that Jane not be placed in perilous circumstances. The madman murderer is a plain scary critter.
Watch those red herrings. Laing is getting good at laying down false trail sure to suck in the unaware as she crafts a bang up chiller.
Reviewed by: molly martin http://www.angelfire.com/ok4/mollymartin
Criterion use for review:
__+_____ Original Story Idea?
__+_____ Does the first sentence, paragraph, page hook your attention immediately?
___yes____ Is there a plot? a subplot? Do they tie in to make the story complete?
___yes____ Are transitions handled so the flow of reading isn't interrupted?
___+____ Do the main characters seem real?
___+____ Does the dialogue between characters seem natural?
___+____ Conflict Present? Was the conflict believable? Was it able to sustain the book?
___+____ Was motivation logical? Believable? Could you see yourself reacting that way in that situation?
___+____ Was the climax believable? Could you envision this really happening?
___+____ Did the conclusion seem a natural outcome?
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