Friday, April 11, 2014

A riveting, if unbelievable, tale

Michael Hiebert's 2013 mystery Dream with Little Angels has just about everything going for it but believability. It's got all the suspense one could want in a mystery, plus humor, charm and nice writing. Hiebert tells a good coming-of-age story. Once started, the book truly is hard to put down.

Trouble is, one of the things that makes the novel so compelling, it's 11-year-old narrator, is what makes it a bit hard to swallow. Abe Teal is the son of a small-town police officer trying to find a serial killer who kidnaps and abuses teenage girls before leaving their bodies to be found. Her husband died when Abe was still a baby, and now Leah Teal struggles to raise him and his older sister, scads of trouble now that she has discovered boys, while trying to catch a murderer whose first victim died 12 years before.

One can understand Leah being protective of her kids, but would any police officer really take an 11-year-old to crime scenes? Would she allow him to be present for interviews? And what are the chances the kid would turn out to be a better detective than the detective?

The trick in reading Dream with Little Angels is simply to accept that strange things happen (odd behaviors do happen all the time) and accept the novel for what it is, a riveting good story.

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