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By Mary Logue

Ballantine Books, July 26, 2005
ISBN: 0-345-46224-6

Reviewed by S. E. Warwick

Mary Logue’s love affair with words infuses elegance into every sentence of POISON HEART, the fourth in her Claire Watkins series. Every outing in the Watkins books pits good against evil in a personal and believable way. Logue chooses each word with care to build a satisfying mosaic whose whole is far more than the sum of its parts.

Logue’s lush prose gives an appealing texture to life in the small Wisconsin town where Watkins, a female deputy sheriff, took her daughter to rebuild her life after the murder of her husband. Her descriptions are exquisite. When Watkins walks into a bakery, the reader smells freshly baked bread. Watkins finds dealing with bad guys easier than confronting the conflicts in her own life. A new live in relationship with her lover and her daughter growing up bring new levels of frustration and satisfaction to her life.

In the way of small towns, most people know each other, many are kin. As Logue lards her plot with clues the very simplicity of the villain’s deeds make them ever more sinister. Subplots including one featuring an injured moose and first love provide depth without confusion.

Language, deft plotting and effortless storytelling make this series yet another one to refute the arrogance of those who dismiss mysteries as genre fiction in favor of "literature."

Good writing is good writing. POISON HEART qualifies.

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