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Neighborhood Watch by Cammie McGovern
New American Poetry edited by Richard Monaco
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Sign of Foul Play by Penny Warner
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Comments for Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch: 09/08/14

cover art

Neighborhood Watch by Cammie McGovern is a mystery trying to be literary fiction. Librarian Betsy Treading has spent twelve years in prison for murder — a crime she confessed to committing even though she doesn't remember doing it. Now DNA evidence has exonerated her and for reasons that frankly baffle me, she's told by her lawyer to go back home and sniff around for clues.

Betsy tells her story in a series of flashbacks mixed in with her present day investigations. Those flash backs involve her time in prison — and how she won everyone's respect and admiration by being a damn good librarian (okay...), her tragic backstory, the events leading up to the murder and some other angsty stuff.

In her outlining of the characters, though, Betsy is about as subtle as a pile driver. She repeats lots of details and opinions. I suppose it's to show how on edge she is both with being released from prison (and a life she's gotten used to) and with facing her inner demons, she ends up telegraphing the identity of the murderer.

I got about a third of the way through the novel before I knew who had done it and way. With the mystery out of the way, there was no compelling reason to keep reading.

Two stars

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