- Post by MysteryPeople Contributor Meike Alana
In Larry D. Sweazy’s latest foray into the darker side of human nature, Where I Can See You, disgraced Detroit detective Hud Matthews returns to his hometown, the once-thriving lakeside community of Demmie Lake, which has fallen on hard times. Haunted by the disappearance of his mother when he was only 8 years old, Hud is determined to find out exactly what happened to her all those decades ago. But almost immediately after his arrival, the town is rocked by a seemingly senseless murder. While Hud races to find the killer, the body count begins to rise—and it seems that Hud may be the pursued as well as the pursuer as he uncovers long-held secrets that threaten to expose truths that have been hidden for far too long.
Read More »
- Review by Event Staffer and Mystery Enthusiast Meike Alana
Larry D. Sweazy’s latest Marjorie Trumaine mystery, See Also Deception, is an atmospheric tale of small-town secrets with a retro feel that is a solid entry in the series.
Marjorie Trumaine is a North Dakota farmwife who took up indexing as a way to make ends meet during the tougher crop seasons—a job that has taken on much more significance since her husband Hank was blinded and paralyzed in a hunting accident some time ago. She often calls on the local librarian, Calla Eltmore, for informational assistance in the completion of her indexing duties. When Calla is found dead at work, due to an apparent suicide, Marjorie has trouble believing that Calla would have killed herself. Her suspicions are further aroused when she notices something odd at Calla’s wake, but the police don’t seem to take her concern seriously. Marjorie sets out to learn more, all while taking care of the ailing Hank. The web of secrets she begins to unravel turn ever more threatening when it becomes apparent that someone may be willing to kill to keep those secrets hidden.
Marjorie is a fascinating character who I’ve come to admire deeply in my two literary outings with her. We see in flashbacks that she and Hank had a charmed romance—he is the only man she has ever loved, and loved deeply, ever since she first set eyes on him in grade school. Yet she isn’t bitter or self-pitying about their changed circumstances—she accepts full responsibility for his considerable care, and his well-being is always at the forefront of her mind. Life on a North Dakota farm in the 1960’s can be deeply isolating—Marjorie feels like “the only person in the world, stranded and alone on a planet of my own making”–but the loneliness suits Marjorie and her private nature. The descriptions of the vast plains and the unrelenting wind are where Sweazy’s prose truly excels.
Larry D. Sweazy is the author of See Also Murder (the first Marjorie Trumaine novel); last year’s A Thousand Falling Crows (a stand-alone thriller set in dust-bowl era Texas); and nine other novels. He has published over sixty non-fiction articles and short stories, many of which have won or been nominated for awards. His is a unique voice in the genre.
You can find copies of See Also Deception on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
- Review by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
The outlaw era of the 1930s conjures up a certain rustic romance. It’s meeting of wild west and Tommy-gun times; local law and Texas rangers hot on the heels of Baby-Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. Larry D. Sweazy plays to that legendary period while getting to its dark underbelly with A Thousand Falling Crows.
He gives us a stalwart and struggling hero with aging Texas Ranger Sonny Burton. Sweazy immediately throws us into the action as Sonny attempts to apprehend bank-robbing gangsters Bonnie and Clyde. Unfortunately the confrontation take him out of action, losing him the use of his arm. Feeling useless, he is asked by Aldo, a worker at the hospital he recuperated at, to locate Aldo’s missing daughter, Carmen, who he fears has fallen in with some robbers with their own Dillinger dreams. The search ties in with an even darker criminal mind, leaving women’s dead bodies in rural fields across the Southwest.
Sweazy completely drops us into the period. You can tell he has done his research, since he doesn’t rub it in your face all the time. Like everything in the book, it is expressed through character. He gives us a sense of time and place through Sonny’s eyes. When we meet up with the legendary and controversial Ranger Frank Hamer, much is expressed by Sonny’s envy of the gun Frank carries.
Sweazy also knows how to use character to push plot. Moving between the point of views of Sonny, the criminals, and Carmen, he creates tension and pace. Mood is even created by another set of characters, a large flock of crows waiting for a killer to provide their next meal of the dead.
A Thousand Falling Crows puts you on an dirt road with fast fords and flying bullets, weaving in a dark and gritty undercurrent. This is Texas period crime fiction at its finest. I hope to see more of Sonny Burton.
You can find copies of A Thousand Falling Crows on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.