4 out of 4 stars
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In his novel, The Easter Make Believers, Finn Bell has created a heart-thumping crime drama with all of the elements one expects of this genre. Immediately the reader is thrust into a mysterious crime scene with two very seasonal and gritty detectives. From there this story unfolds like a true crime investigation, as clues and leads spring up from expected and unexpected sources alike. Overall, this smartly written tale not only offers a story worth reading but also shares some profound life truths along the way. For this reason, I confidently rate this work a 4 out of 4 stars.
The story is narrated from the point of view of Nick Cooper, a detective specializing in organized crime. He and his partner, Tobe White, are called to a hostage situation involving several well-known gangsters. This might not seem too out of the ordinary; however, it’s all happening in a small mining town, to a family who has no obvious ties to organized crime, or any crime for that matter.
The scene turns grim quickly when explosives coming from inside the house trigger the policemen surrounding the house to shoot and kill all but one of the gangsters inside, using FLIR cameral technology. When the smoke clears, the police find that, miraculously, the family, James and Andrea Chen, and their two daughters survived the blast. However, James and one of the gangsters are missing, and Andrea Chen suffered non-life threatening injuries from a gunshot.
After surveying the area and finding an old gold mine tunnel under the house, it’s expected that’s where James and the gangster fled. Nick and Tobe suspect that the gangster has taken James hostage and they immediately start chasing down leads. Piece by piece, the detectives start to put the puzzle together, but it is not until a very dramatic end that this case is finally solved.
There is a lot to like about this story. The writing style is fluid and makes the reader feel like they are right there solving the crime. The first person point of view gives the reader an intimate look at Nick. We learn about his estranged father, his obsessive need to solve each case, and his undying love for his girlfriend, Maria. The characters are so well fleshed out that the reader can’t help but invest in their story.
Subtly, the author integrates deeper questions throughout the narrative. For example, while Tobe and Nick have dinner with Maria and Tobe’s mother, the topic of a parent’s devotion to their children versus the primal fight or flight survival instincts we all have. Another theme subtly woven into the pages of the book is the question of justice in the legal system. As I read my mind reeled over real justice, and what that means.
If I had to mention one shortfall, it would be the lack of a solid solution for one of the characters, Officer Sylvie Turei. I don’t want to write any spoilers, but it felt like her situation wasn’t fully finalized, and her piece to the puzzle of the case wasn’t completely fleshed out. This isn’t a major issue because Sylvie is in no way the main character.
Overall, this is a great read, and I highly recommend it for anyone who has an interest in crime dramas, or even stories about organized crime. This is not only an entertaining book, but it was obviously professionally edited because no errors were found.
The Easter Make Believers
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