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Month in review

Reviews:
Alphabet Mystery by Audrey Wood
The Best Friend I Ever Had by David Nuffer
Beyond the Blue Event Horizon by Frederik Pohl
Black Rainbow by Barbara Michaels
The Bomb That Followed Me Home by Cevin Soling
Catalog by Eugene Mirabelli
The Chemist by Janson Mancheski
Culture Shock! California by Mark Cramer
The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig
Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
Duck for President by Doreen Cronin
Heechee Rendezvous by Frederik Pohl
How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo
Keeping Hannah Waiting by Dave Clarke
Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
Love in 90 Days by Diana Kirschner
The Night We Buried Road Dog by Jack Cady
Of Dreams and Reality by Frank L. Johnson
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
Purplicious by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann
School Days by B. G. Hennessy
The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay
Sister Margaret by Rhonda Parrish
A Surprise for Rosie by Julia Rawlinson
Texas Bake Sale by Charles Coleman Finlay
There's a Wolf at the Door by Zoë B. Alley
Tiger Burning Bright by Theodora DuBois
Venice by Adrian Stokes and John Piper
Winding Broomcorn by Mario Milosevic
The Whole Shebang by Timothy Ferris

Ulysses:
Episode 2: Nestor: Kif
Episode 3: Proteus: Georgia Nicholson
Episode 4: Calypso: Parasites Lost
Episode 5: The Lotus Eaters: Down to the River to Pray

Miscellaneous:
Historical Fiction

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for The Chemist

The ChemistThe Chemist: 03/07/09

Debut novel The Chemist by Janson Mancheski introduces Detective Cale Van Waring and a new mystery series. The book is set in Green Bay Wisconsin, an unusual but refreshing location.

The Chemist opens with the kidnapping of a young woman by a man calling himself the Chemist. As things switch to Van Waring's point of view, we learn that she is the forth woman to go missing, one of whom has been found decapitated in Lake Michigan. With her body, Van Waring is running on the assumption that the other women are dead too.

Mancheski peppers the mystery with enough red herrings to keep one guessing. I fell victim to one of them on page 75 when I was sure he had revealed the killer's identity. I worried that the book would suffer from too small a cast of characters. Fortunately, though, the book went on a completely different direction and opened up the fictional world to include a number of possible but wrong leads. This approach added to the suspense (especially later when the Chemist's identity is revealed to the reader) while making the proceedural aspect of this mystery feel more realistic.

My only quibble is with the ending. Without giving anything away, I felt cheated by the choice to go with the melodramatic ending over the a more straight-up conclusion to the investigation. There could have still be a dramtic rescue and a show down without the contrivances. After all the convincing world building and characterization, the ending flung the fact that I was reading fiction right back in my face.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed The Chemist and am looking forward to future books in the series. Janson Mancheski's website mentions that he's working on a second book. I am curious what sort of case Cale Van Waring's next one will be.

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