4 out of 4 stars
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L.E. Barrett follows up on The Boys from Joppa with Dummers Lane, the second book in The Kennebec River Trilogy. In this instalment the police are chasing after the criminals responsible for murder and the biggest alcohol heist in Maine history; Deborah deals with the aftermath of Earl’s death; Rita is juggling her lover and her abusive husband; Martha and Bunny are outed for their carnal cravings, and Dip finds himself in the middle of all the trouble. Again.
As some might know, I loved The Boys from Joppa. L.E. Barrett has created an amazing cast of characters and has solidified Hollowell in my heart. The story is complex, slowly unraveling a mystery that becomes bigger with each untangled thread. I love how all the characters – all with wildly different stories – find themselves joined up in one huge mystery. I’ve never enjoyed so many different characters in one book. I’ve also never enjoyed a read that deals with so many themes and moods. One chapter might have me filled with dread and gasping at the cruelty people are capable of, while another is full of sensual appeal and dangerous love.
L.E. Barrett has also introduced Bunny Hunt, a character that sits right next to Dip in my heart. He’s an older gentleman struggling with being gay in the 1960s, but the thing I loved most is that Bunny loves himself. He doesn’t view who he is as something to be ashamed of. He’s a gentle soul and I loved how L.E Barrett wrote him. He’s Bunny Hunt, a great person that happens to be gay and not the gay man, Bunny. To me, that distinction is important because it emphasizes that sexual orientation does not change the soul.
The writing is fast, packed with action, and has an old-time feel that evokes an atmosphere that has me begging for the third installment of the Kennebec River Trilogy. I will also add, as I did in my first review of the trilogy, this book is for a mature audience. There are explicit sex scenes and violence, and this book deals with many darker themes like abuse, suicide, and violence.
The only problem I have with Dummers Lane is a series of missed commas. While they are numerous, it didn’t much hamper the flow of the book and I can’t bring myself to deduct a point for the errors. The book does look professionally edited and L.E. Barrett is a talented writer.
I rate Dummers Lane 4 out of 4 stars. Each page unfolds a greater story and gives life to Hollowell and her surreal residents. I would recommend Drummers Lane to those looking for a pulp fiction mystery that has you wondering who the real bad guys are, all topped off with some romance.
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