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A Field of Darkness: A Novelby Cornelia Read
Heroine Madeline Dare is a descendant of the rarefied world of East Coast old money. She also cracks wise and shoots from the hip, literally. At once a first-rate mystery, this well-told tale is also a brilliant and witty portrait of class resentments in America.
Synopses & Reviews
Madeline Dare would be the first to tell you her money is so old there's none left. A former socialite from an aristocratic family in decline, Maddie is a tough-talking, would-be journalist exiled to the rust belt of upstate New York. Her prospects for changing her dreary lifestyle seem dim — until a set of dog tags found at a decades-old murder site is linked to her family.
Shocked into action, Maddie embarks on a search that takes her from the derelict smokestacks of Syracuse to the posh mansions of Long Island's Gold Coast. But instead of the warm refuge of home, this prodigal daughter soon uncovers dark, sinister secrets that will violently challenge everything she believes in and holds dear.
"Read's impressive debut stars the unusual Madeline Dare, a jumble of contradictions who comes from an old-money Long Island family but is married to Dean, a railroad worker, in Syracuse, N.Y., which our heroine likens in a moment of exasperation to 'some mental dust bowl.' Dean's job requires frequent travel, while Madeline writes fluff features for the local newspaper. Nothing in her background prepares her for trying to solve the bizarre 20-year-old murder of two young women, a crime that her cousin, Lapthorne Townsend, might have been involved in. Read writes with verve and passion as Madeline sets out to clear her cousin's name, an effort that develops into a much larger, life-changing struggle. Some readers may find Madeline's volatile character less than credible, but the fine supporting cast — notably husband Dean and flaky, flamboyant friend Ellis — consistently delights. The author's sharp social commentary on everything from the idle rich to the environment adds to the pleasure. 5-city author tour. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This is sure to be loved by fans of comic mysteries, but don't be surprised if Tom Wolfe readers are equally smitten by Read's venomously witty portrait of a fallen WASP." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Read's sensational debut features spot-on descriptions of upstate-downstate conflicts, strong characterizations and a fascinating plot." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"First-time novelist Cornelia Read makes a rousing foray into the genre....Readers will eagerly anticipate Read's next novel." South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"Read is a natural, fluent storyteller....A Field of Darkness will please both mystery and literary fiction readers." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"With her hysterically funny dialog and inspired views on life, Read is a delight." Library Journal
"Sparks seem to fly off the pages of Cornelia Read's A Field of Darkness, a stylishly written debut novel...powered by a sensational narrator's voice and lively characterizations....Read is a big talent." The Boston Globe
"The mystery component is slender and too attenuated to be suspenseful, but the clipped accents of Madeline's sardonic voice keep calling us back..." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"[S]heer joy, complete with cutting prose and gleefully off-kilter pop culture references....Just like her book, Cornelia Read is starting out her career as a novelist like a house afire." BookReporter.com
"Intense, creepy, and wonderfully erudite." Laura Lippman, author of To the Power of Three
"Completely captivating — wry, knowing, hip, intelligent, exciting. A brand new voice that's entirely convincing straight out of the gate. One of the best debuts I've ever seen." Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of One Shot and The Hard Way
A tough-talking, shotgun-toting debutante gets in over her head investigating a pair of cold case murders in this assured, thrilling first novel.
About the Author
Cornelia Read lives in Berkeley, California.
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