4 out of 4 stars
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Diamonds are a girl's best friend...or a terrible, evil obsession that takes over her mind until she is killed over it. At least, that's how it plays out in the spellbinding novel, The Black Canary Diamond, by Barbara L. Lefka. If this canary sings a song, it's much like the ones that Sirens sing.
In this riveting tale, Chief Detective Jacob Giuliani witnesses the murder of his lover, Fiona Tate, and comes to find out that she was heavily involved with the legendary diamond that purportedly has supernatural powers. Not surprisingly, the ring cannot be found when Fiona's body is collected, so it's up to Jake to to find both her killer and the bauble before it can wreak untold havoc. His search will cause him to meet with some very unsavory people who will do anything to keep or find the jewelry. Can Jake find the ring? Can he resist its power? Will he live long enough to find out? You'll have to read this exhilarating story to find out.
I am a HUGE fan of crime mysteries, police procedurals, and the supernatural, so this tale was the perfect recipe for me. It even has assault and peppering [of bullets] in it, all of which I relished! The mix of action and suspense was also perfectly blended without being over-the-top. I felt energized for most of the reading and was perched on the edge of my seat a lot of the time. As is commonly the case with this type of novel, I found myself suspecting practically everyone in the tome and casting skeptical eyes on even the "good guys". I was also able to predict a few things that would happen, but it did not take away from my overall enjoyment.
The characters were all a great bunch as well. Jake had enough faults to keep him from being perfect, and his friends and police officers were all sufficiently drawn. In my opinion, everyone of importance had enough of a backstory for me to be able to follow their motives, yet there was also enough mystery to keep me interested. Jake's friend, Stan, the co-owner of the PM Downtown restaurant, especially kept me on my toes, making me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. I also really liked Stan's employee, Treasure, who fully lived up to her name. In addition, even though I didn't "like" them, I found the antagonists to be written well, going beyond the scope of vague stereotypes. But by far, the most hypnotizing character had to be the ring itself. It supposedly housed the devil's heart in its center and promised untold riches, wealth, and power...at a cost, of course. Every time Ms. Lefka described the ring and its effects on the characters, I both shuddered and salivated. At other times, when entranced characters would giggle while under the ring's spell, I'd think of Gollum from The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In fact, I was so interested in the ring that I even did a Google search to see if such a ring exists, though minus the supernatural aspects. I was able to find canary rings and black diamond rings but no black canary diamond rings, so I believe the author created the ring using the two known types of gems.
The tale was told in a straightforward manner befitting such a story, and I had no trouble following along with all of Jake's thoughts and travels. I will admit that there's one question I had that ultimately wasn't answered, but the answer wasn't really needed to end the tale well. Additionally, even though the descriptions weren't elaborate, I was able to feel as though I was in Philadelphia, where most of the action takes place. I could mostly picture specific locations, like the restaurant, Fiona's apartment, and Jake's abode too.
Even though I did spot a few grammatical errors, they were few and far between and didn't take away from the reading. I am therefore thrilled to give The Black Canary Diamond 4 out of 4 stars. I highly recommend this great novel to fans of police procedurals, crime mysteries, and tales with supernatural angles. Those who like reading about interesting jewelry also may find something to enjoy in this tome. I too fall in the latter category, and I will definitely be reading the sequels, The Scarlet Macaw Ruby, which is already available, and The Pearly White Owl, which is soon to be published.
"Evil incarnate, the devil's own heart rests inside the cursed stone, waiting to be called forth to bring fortune to whomever, at the price of a soul."
- Jeremy Tate, The Black Canary Diamond
The Black Canary Diamond
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