Wednesday, September 27, 2023

71. A Multitude of Sins by M.K. Wren

I've been looking for the book A Gift Upon the Shore by M.K. Wren for quite some time.  I can't remember who recommended it to me.  It's a post-apocalyptic fantasy/sci-fi book.  When I was in Vancouver, I stumbled upon her name in the crime section with a couple of books featuring Oregonian detective Conan Flagg.  Normally, I wouldn't purchase a different book by the same author until I found the one I was looking for, but the combo of the Oregon coast location and the elite first name of the character allowed me to break protocol.

I read this much faster than the P.D. James I read previously.  These American detective fiction books are much easier to read, with fewer characters and a more straightforward through line as well as less complex prose.  So I burned through it, despite being really busy with work and personal bureaucracy.  I got caught up in it early, enjoying the intriguing setup and the cool and cultured detective.  He runs a book shop, of which we didn't get enough, and receives an anonymous note asking him to meet privately at the trail behind his beach house.  He is reluctant (and there is a suggestion that he was involved in things in his past that might still put him at risk) but concedes and meets the daughter of a recently deceased senator.  She is convinced that she is being followed and Flagg soon confirms that she is not actually paranoid, though there is a lingering question of her mental health.  

She plays the piano beautifully and that is enough to convince Flagg that she is worth protecting.  We are soon learn of her messed up family, or what is left of it: her charming frat boy party-hardy step-brother, her artist and now weird shut-in stepsister and her blind stepmom whom she hates.  It was an enjoyable read, but there was not much of a mystery and even the semi-twist at the end was pretty obvious to me.  I'm a dolt when it comes to figuring out mysteries, so I can only assume that Wren did not really care about hiding it and the pleasure was supposed to come from the action, which was okay.

So no masterpiece, but a nice digestible read.  Coincidentally, the day I finished the book, I went to Dark Carnival with the intention of only poking around, but the place has really been cleaned up and a lot of books that were buried under piles have become visible and lo and behold I found A Gift upon the Shore!  The book-finding Gods smile upon me.  

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