by Tom MacDonald

Oceanview Publishing, $25.95, 272 pages

While Dermot Sparhawk is preparing the parish food pantry for opening, his godfather staggers in and falls at his feet. After giving Dermot a key and uttering a single word, he dies from the knife wound in his back. Thus begins Dermot’s quest to solve the murder, which leads to the possibility that his godfather was involved in a twenty year old theft of priceless art from a local museum. With the help of his friends, he follows tips and clues through a complex mystery. Set in Boston’s gritty projects, it is a genuine look inside the life and mind of an intelligent man fighting alcoholism as he struggles to find answers to an increasingly dangerous enigma. The story has so many surprises that the journey grabs you and never lets go.

Tom MacDonald has given us a wonderful gift with his first novel. A Boston native and life-long resident, he has written about an area he knows well, which the descriptions of places and people reflect. We can only hope there will be many more novels from this talented author.

Don’t expect to figure out the ending until you actually reach it. Few novels have provided so many unexpected turns with constantly new information revealing yet another facet of the mystery. It is so entertaining that you may want to read it more than once.

Fran Byram