This tale that spans 10 years is crafted to fit the locale, the San Francisco Bay Area, the era, the 1980s to the 90s, and the human foibles of a rich array of characters carefully revealed by author Jennifer Dwight. More a novel than a mystery, The Tolling of Mercedes Bell lulls readers by the rhythmic pace that is the unfolding of a new life for recently-widowed Mercedes and her seven-year-old daughter, Germaine.
Mercedes is an emotionally fragile, yet stubborn quasi paralegal. Her drunkard husband’s single car crash has left her penniless and in desperate need of a job. She and Germaine leave a rental house in Piedmont to settle into a rental cottage in an undesirable part of Oakland. Author Dwight has obviously frequented the areas she describes in minute detail. Coincidentally, my wife lived just blocks from the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland where Mercedes buys her newspapers and she vouched for the authenticity of the writing.
The biggest shift from the minor key of the musical score, yes this is movie material, comes when Mercedes has realized her goal of steady employment at a law firm. Given the era, the notion of a tall, handsome single lawyer becoming infatuated with her is no surprise; however, what follows is eye opening to say the least! Long-time residents of northern California have an advantage in figuring out the conclusion.
Renegade’s Pride is the first novel in this new series, Cahill Ranch. It is considered a romantic suspense with a western setting. Trask Beaumont is the handsome heart throb of the story. Accused of murder nine years ago, Trask ran away. [...]
One night during a thunderstorm the old man living across the street heard music. Looking through the window, flashes of lightning illuminated the swimming pool, which to his amazement was filled with floating dolls. A more careful examination [...]
This book is, in total, a puzzler. This is probably so because, even though the author has written scholarly books on religion and philosophy, this is his first venture into fiction; It shows in the lack of traditional cadences of suspense, [...]