Saturday, June 30, 2012

Guest Post - Ann Weir's review of Wayne Arthurson's Fall From Grace

After losing his family and successful journalism career to gambling, Leo Desroches falls into homelessness on the streets of Edmonton, Alberta.  His shot at redemption comes when a former colleague hires him as a reporter during a newspaper strike.  Fall from Grace opens with Leo getting an exclusive when a police officer he knows allows him to view the body of Grace, a native girl found dead in a field.  Something touches Leo when he views Grace’s body, both as a reporter and as a person, and he embarks on a series of stories that revitalize his career as a journalist.  At the same time, Leo still has problems.  Not only does he still live in a basement room, which seems to be only one rung up from the streets, but he also hasn’t completely recovered from his addiction.  Although he’s not gambling, Leo is in the habit of robbing banks, albeit in a non-violent and polite manner.  Despite his issues and many other obstacles, Leo continues to try to solve the mystery of who killed Grace and why.

Leo Desroches is a great character, surprisingly likable for a gambling addict turned bank robber who crosses the picket line at a newspaper.  In Arthurson’s hands, Leo takes many giant steps towards redemption and I was firmly in his corner, rooting him on.  Having a reporter as a main character was a smart choice; it suits the author’s chatty writing style.  However, I did find the dialogue somewhat unrealistic, as all the characters were chatty, speaking in paragraphs that didn’t feel natural.  But the story itself overcomes this problem; it is a solid page-turning mystery written in short chapters that keep the plot fresh and unpredictable.  The last few chapters really stand out, bringing the threads of the story together nicely and reaching a satisfying, if not happy, ending that allows us to be content with Leo’s partial redemption.

1 comment:

Wayne Arthurson said...

Thanks for the nice comments about my book. Don't forget the sequel, A Killing Winter, is out as well.