Darden North,
The Five Manners of Death
(Wordcrafts, 2017)

While clearing brush that hasn't been disturbed for goodness knows how long, Bob, a bulldozer operator, makes a gruesome discovery. He digs up what appears to be a skull that he imagines is winking at him. To his horror, he accidently exhumes a body that was never supposed to resurface. The news of his discovery unsettles a once laid-back town, which soon seethes with questions and suspicion.

The body, identified as Rusty Reynolds, is at least 50 years old. After the remains are identified a bizarre chain of events starts to unfold. One of the first to notice things coming apart at the seams is Diana Bratton, a respected physician once married to Alex Bratton, a cold-hearted attorney whose career is on the down slope. He's her ex, but she is directly hooked to this loser because they have a daughter and Aunt Phoebe in common.

Phoebe denies knowing Rusty, although they both attended Ole Miss in the 1960s. But Diana finds out she's not being truthful while thumbing through Phoebe's college yearbook and finding a photo of them together. She's left to wonder what, if anything, her aunt knows about Rusty's demise.

To go further with this review will keep you from thoroughly enjoying what I deem as a well-written mystery by Darden North. This book is very detailed, but not excessively so. There's lots of unpredictability, which will please fans of this genre. Nothing is more refreshing for a reader than a book that holds your attention to the very last page. North is an excellent storyteller with a very creative mind. When an author can get you to see his characters as described, he deserves props for a job well done. There are no wasted pages in this book.

book review by
Renee Harmon

24 June 2017

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