Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Dead on Town Line" by Leslie Connor

This book was excellent. I found a hardcover copy on the "Bargain Books" rack for only $3.97, which was exciting enough in and of itself, and then it turned out to be a really great read too!

The story may not be especially unique (it reminds me of The Lovely Bones, as it is narrated by the ghost of a murdered girl, although of course the circumstances differ) but the way it is told certainly is. Rather than being written in prose, this story is (as the dust jacket proclaims) "beautifully crafted in free verse." It's so funny to me, to think back to all of the times I heard Marshall in The Most Awesome First Saturday Book Club wish that a book we were discussing had been written as a poem instead. Now I understand. This brief little book (only 131 pages) manages to convey all the necessary information with plenty of suspense, and packs a punch as strong as a full-length murder mystery novel. Not only that, but (although I didn't time myself) I'm guessing it took me less than an hour to read.

One thing that bothered me about the story was not knowing if the murderer would be caught and punished. It was clear that the murderer's accessory would be found out due to evidence, but I worry that the murderer would never be exposed. The murderer's intellect and sense of self-preservation, in contrast with the accomplice's slow-wittedness and cracking under pressure, combined with the lack of evidence of the murderer's involvement, was frustrating. The victim's ghost wasn't able to "hang around" long enough to see this through.

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