Donis Casey,
Hell with the Lid Blown Off
(Poisoned Pen Press, 2014)

While the cover copy says it's a murder mystery, that's not the way I'd describe Donis Casey's Hell with the Lid Blown Off. OK, there is a mysterious murder, but it doesn't happen until almost two thirds of the way through the book. The rest is mostly focused on solving it, but in my opinion that's not the book's main strength.

I would call it more of a historical, slice-of-life novel, with the murder-mystery an added bonus.

I haven't read anything in this series before, so I was very grateful for the list of characters right at the beginning. The families are large and complex, especially the Tuckers -- the main family depicted.

It all takes place in Depression-era Oklahoma, and Casey evokes this very well indeed -- both its strengths and its weaknesses. The devastation that a tornado wreaks is also extremely well depicted.

While there was not a pointed enough focus on any of the main characters to make me feel I knew them, they were varied, and their characters had a great influence on the plot, especially the murder investigation.

I started this book expecting a more conventional focused murder mystery ... but I grew to love the slice-of-life aspects about an era and a location I'd never explored.

Also: home-style recipes in the back! "Scratch" cooking at its most authentic -- I look forward to trying them!

book review by
Amanda Fisher

12 July 2014

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new