Tuesday, 24 October 2017

First Friday - Tory Hartmann



                The first reason that I chose this book to read was the cover. Something about it drew my eye and I’m not sure why because there isn’t really anything special about it. Maybe it was the contrast of colors but once I picked it up I saw that the story was a combination of two of my favourite things: the Irish and a mystery. How could I possibly go wrong with reading this book? Happily, I made a good choice.
                Agnes, or Anne as she would like to be called, is on the cusp of big changes in her life. She finally has her real estate licence, is thinking of moving out of her parents’ house, and is going to have plastic surgery in hopes of making herself beautiful. However, there’s a secret in her past that involves her brother –in-law, Bruno, and it threatens to cause her all sorts of trouble.
                The book starts out being quite funny as it takes a look at life inside a strict Irish-Catholic home where the Virgin Mary is worshiped to such a degree that her pictures are everywhere in the house and Anne’s mother makes her likeness (among other biblical beings) out of pancake batter every morning. Anne’s father treats Anne like a little girl who will never do anything but work in his office and will never be as pretty as her sisters. The back and forth dialogue between some of the characters often involves an Irish dialect which can be a little hard to read but once you get the rhythm of it, the dialogue flows nicely and it really adds to the whole atmosphere of the book. For a while I wondered when the mystery would come in but it’s so slowly revealed and, may I say, slyly done by the author, that all of a sudden I found myself feeling like a light bulb flashed on when I finally figured out what the mystery was in the story. From that point on, I was completely involved with the events that were unfolding and couldn’t put the book down. The pace starts slow but speeds up, all the while maintaining its’ humorous aspects. It does grow dark and a bit disturbing in a way but the author combines the humour and the mystery very well. The characters are well written and believable although it often felt like the book took place in the 1950s or 60s as opposed to current day. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more by Tory Hartmann.
 I read this in digital form on my ereader and it formatted well.