Share This

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Review: The Fall Hunt by Joanne Clarey

Copyright: 2008 (Alabaster Books); pgs. 244
Series: #3 in Hummingbird Falls mysteries
Sensuality: N/A
Obtained book through:  Library
Main Character: Ellie Hastings, retired schoolteacher and her mutt Buddy
Setting: Mountain village of Hummingbird Falls, a tourist town with only 800 residents
Part of Challenge: Fall/Winter Mystery Reading Challenge

This mystery starts with a bang as Ellie Hastings enters a bank in the middle of a robbery. She is still suffering Post Traumatic Stress as fall starts turning to winter and the hunting season gears up. Ellie has been obsessing over a detail during the robbery that she knows is important but just can’t remember. All the while the bank robbers are still on the loose.

Then a very fateful day dawns when everything will be brought to light. Ellie is walking in the woods surrounding her cabin when she is struck from behind, falls and hits her head on a rock. Awakening she discovers a dead body and fights a concussion to get help as a quick moving blizzard descends on the area. A policeman patrolling the mountainous areas for illegal hunters goes missing and a search party is organized, a group of three greenhorn hunters lost in the sudden storm struggle to survive and a near starving bear known as Old Scar Face all play into the drama that unfolds.

Here is an excerpt displaying the writing style and how the author even makes a bear part of the unfolding drama:
“His shaggy winter hair was slightly silvered, mangy and crusted in places. A long scar from a tangle with another bear replaced the fur on the side of his face, giving him an odd twisted look. Those who had sighted him over the years nicknamed him Old Scar Face.

This fall had been hard on him. His preferred foods, nuts, acorns, fruit, insects, and greens, were scarce due to limited rainfall, and he failed to add the optimal amounts of fat necessary to hold him through the long months of hibernation, soon to come. Because of his age and injuries, Old Scar Face arrived late at his usual feeding spots and didn’t fill his hungry stomach. The old blueberry fields he once commanded were picked clean by the time he arrived. Competitiors had already consumed the cherries, blackberries, acorns and apples he depended upon to push his fat content to its fullest extent and ready him for hibernation. Other bears and deer, squirrels, chipmonks, birds, fox, mice, and all types of insects had benefited from the food which would have kept Old Scar Face from starving.”
The small town is populated with realistic and interesting characters making you wish to visit Hummingbirds Falls or perhaps even move there. The writing draws you in as you follow the different plot lines told from different characters viewpoints all adeptly handled. The mysteries are not so much for the reader to solve. There really are no suspects presented for you to consider. The bank robbers' identity is not given any clues leading up to the big reveal, the reader finds out when Ellie is telling the police Chief and it is a bit disappointing if you like solving the puzzle.   I have not read the others in the series so this may be part of how this story is told and not a characteristic of all the books in the series.

This book’s strongest point is the community and the writing and less so presenting a puzzle for the reader to discover which suspect is the culprit. This doesn’t make it necessarily an inferior story, but the reader should be prepared to enjoy the story and not match wits with the author. No list of suspects being paraded made the last part of the book feel rushed a bit, because I was expecting a few clues to chew on and instead, bam here is the big reveal.  So please keep that in mind, but consider Joanne Clarey's Hummingbird Falls Mystery Series (other titles include The Mysteries of Hummingbird Falls and Riddled to Death.)  I look forward to reading another for the storytelling value and will see if a stronger "traditional" mystery is contained in them.

Until the next "Musings" on Monday, I wish you many mysterious moments.
Bookmark and Share


Kaye said...

I like the cover on this one although I have never heard of this author. Did you read the first two in the series? Is it a stand alone mystery?

A.F. Heart said...


I had not read the first two in the series so this story is independent of the first two. Yes, the book was through a small press and apparently didn't get a lot of buzz. I discovered it on and good reviews of it there.

I thought it was a good story and wanted to share it for Fall/Winter.
AF Heart

Related Posts with Thumbnails