tahoe deathfallA really great whodunnit-ty mystery set in Lake Tahoe, and starring a nifty P.I., Owen McKenna.  On the jacket it says ‘mystery thriller’.  OK.  It seems so much is called a ‘thriller’ these days, that I wanted to be sure of myself, so I looked up the definition for the thriller genre.  Wiki P. says;

high level of anticipation, ultra-heightened expectation, uncertainty, surprise, anxiety and terror. Films of this genre tend to be adrenaline-rushing, gritty, rousing and fast-paced.

In the past, I didn’t read too many thrillers because I don’t care all that much for gritty, noir, and adrenaline-rushing. I gotta pace myself, know what I mean?

So my point, and I do have one, is that I think we have entered into the era of ‘thriller lite’.  Because while I enjoyed this book immensely, I wouldn’t call it a thriller in that  Wiki definition sense of the word.  More like thriller lite.

Once again, another novel in which some secondary learning is snuck in on us readers, and you know how much I like that.   This time it is the painting and themes of the painter Edward Hopper.  He is the painter of the work you are probably familiar with, Nighthawks.


The story opens with the opening of his shiny new office in Lake Tahoe, in which hangs the P.I.’s favorite Hopper painting, New York Movie.

New York Movie

Hopper’s entire oeuvre is an exploration of isolation and loneliness, and again and again, McKenna comes back to the paintings to tap into his intuitive knowledge to solve the workings of his case.   And what is his case?   Eight years ago, six year old twin girls, daughter of a very wealthy family, were taken hiking by their grandmother.  One of the twins fell off a steep precipice, and the incident was ruled an accident.  But the now-14 year old surviving twin is convinced that it was not an accident but was a murder, and comes to McKenna to investigate.

It is a compelling mystery, involving more and more people, with more and more secret connections, each alone and isolated with their own secrets.

Oh, and did I mention the dog?  McKenna has a huge Harlequin Great Dane named — what else — Spot.  I love stories with smart, calm, cooperative dogs in them.  So unlike the neurotic canine chaos that surrounds me daily.  Oh, well, it IS fiction.

The dear boy has an insect forensic biologist girlfriend.  I mean she was a human forensic biologist specializing in insects.  This turns out to be ever so convenient to have a girlfriend in the biz, so to speak.  So here’s this guy with this great gorgeous girl friend, and this great gorgeous dog.  Yep.  Fiction.

Great book.  All thumbs up, and is the first of a series.

Here’s one more Hopper for you, just because I have always like his work.  This one is Summer in the City.

summer in the City


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