3 out of 4 stars
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I'm always interested in stories with a whole bunch of characters in it. Like say, Carla Coffman's "Higgins Hotel" for instance. In any hotel, what do you get? You get a whole bunch of people with their own sets of work-related and emotional incommodes. Coffman's book doesn't take us to meet people that move in and out of a single hotel, however. From a retired journalist to a real estate agent, Coffman introduces readers to an entire cast while the mystery behind a bomb explosion is being investigated.
The explosion in question took place in a bank. While it gets investigated by the FBI and becomes a constant topic of discussion for the inhabitants of Clarksville, a real estate agent named Cindy seems to be on quite a role as she closes contract after contract. The owner of the Hotel is a man named Jack, an honest man to some who is constantly being investigated by the authorities. In this town of idle gossip, a killer is about to emerge. Nobody would believe this killer to be one even if this killer held up a big sign saying so.
Unlike most books, there is no one character that can be called the protagonist. Each chapter has us jumping into the comings and goings of an entirely different character. The author might give you a glimpse of what Jack has been up to while one Agent Taylor has been busy pealing back the layers of the mystery behind the explosion at the bank. She might show us how far Cindy's romantic relationship with an individual who just so happens to also be on Taylor's radar, is going.
This is a well-handled story of a wide variety of people navigating their own problems while simply keeping tabs on the events that happen in their town. Through a character named Frank, I gleaned some coveted information about Clarksville. The other characters don't think or talk about this town much. Anyone who likes a mystery novel which involves characters that are as real as everyone out there in the real world will find this work by author Carla Coffman a delight to read.
In the first chapter I've already encountered a few sentences in much need of commas. The wide cache of characters to follow makes it difficult to connect with any particular character, though the realistic personalities is what made this book multi-layered and engaging. The truth behind the explosion is mainly a topic of discussion to many characters. I would have liked to follow Agent Taylor throughout the book because his appearance in this book was a bit brief to me.
Though it involves a couple of mysteries, I can't categorize this novel as a mystery though as it leans more towards being realistic drama. If I could recommend it to any specific type of person, I'd recommend it to the reader who likes reading stories about seemingly regular folk who turn out to be anything but. The typographical errors were plentiful and the author focused on a bit too much dialogue to move her story along. I rate it 3 out of 4.
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