3 out of 4 stars
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What are you made of? Are you made of steel and can stand all troubles when they hit you right in your face? Or are you made of solid ice which seems sturdy, yet it melts near the fire? Pat Green, cited at the beginning of Keith Hirshland’s novel The Flower Girl Murder, said “When you finally hit rock bottom, will you do what’s wrong or right? You’re gonna find out what you’re made of in the middle of the night.” How true these words are in life and how skillfully Keith portrays them in his crime mystery novel.
Most of the characters’ lives depicted in Keith’s novel, The Flower Girl Murder, seem unimpeachably real. I often found myself putting on these characters’ shoes wondering, what would I have done if I were he/she? So now I ask you the same questions I asked myself when reading this story, and I truly hope you find the right answers.
If you were a detective striving to catch the murderer of an ostensibly innocent woman named Daisy, what would you have done to find the truth? Would you abide by the law or bend the rules a little bit? This is the case of detective Marc Allen. Or if you were a caring father that unconditionally loves his daughter and discovers a fatal secret, would you protect her anyways or would you turn her in to the authorities? This is the dilemma that Hank Hickock presents in this story. Or think about this situation, you had been living with someone who does not want to marry but loves you, would you still propose marriage? Lancaster Heart underwent through this experience. But the most serious case of all would be when you have done something you aren’t proud of, and you do not want people to find out, but the black box that keeps your secret still opens up, what choices do you have? The flower girl in the story found her answer.
This 258-page novel with fifty-six short chapters is narrated from a third-person omniscient point of view. The reader discovers who the murderer is after meeting the main characters and is left (purposely) pondering if what the murderer did was justifiable or not. Therefore, topics such as moral values, following the dictates of your conscience, how sane a person must be to buy a gun, and accepting consequences of our actions are raised throughout this novel making it a delight to read.
Nevertheless, there were two details that detract my full enjoyment from this book. First, I found the story pace quite slow. The whole story takes less than two years, but Keith’s writing style makes you feel as if you are living each day with the characters, so you don’t feel many exhilarating moments. You are just curious if the murderer is going to be caught and what punishment this person will receive. Second, I wasn’t aware there were going to be some instances of sex (not too explicit) including lesbianism. I think this information should be forewarned in the synopsis of the book in order that the potential readers decide whether to read the novel or not.
Despite the above weaknesses mentioned, The Flower Girl Murder is a treat for lovers of crime and mystery. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the editing of the story was done. I only found a couple of missing periods. I was also pleased to see that the story ending is strong, but needless to say, the ending may not be liked by some readers. In my personal case, I loved it. So, the conclusion of this review, everything having been exposed here, is I rate The Flower Girl Murder 3 out of 4 stars.
The Flower Girl Murder
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