Sunday, December 03, 2006


Former Debutante Madeline Dare has gone decidedly downscale. She's living with her inventor husband in crumbling Syracuse, New York, writing food articles for a local rag, and wanting desperately for them to be anywhere else. Then one of her in-laws finds a clue that implicates Madeline's favorite cousin in a decades-old murder, and her seemingly dead-end life starts getting considerably more interesting than she wished for.

This is one of those books that I love so much, I end up accosting people on the street and pressing it into their hands. The plotting is superb, much more assured than one would expect from a first time author. The twists and red herrings are deftly mixed in to keep the reader guessing without feeling confused during the journey and used at the end.

It's the quality of the writing, however, that really makes this book special. I fell in love with Madeline's voice from the opening sentences ("There are people who can be happy anywhere. I am not one of them.") And it just keeps getting better. Cornelia Read has a flair for the compact: the quickly sketched but perfect descriptive phrase; the snarky aside tossed off so quickly it almost seems like a throwaway until you get it and laugh with delight; the one seemingly trivial detail that causes a character to suddenly spring to life in the reader's imagination.

A Field of Darkness is an amazing debut. Check it out.


Janine said...

Well said,'s an amazing debut! Can't wait to read her next book.

Cornelia Read said...

Dusty, thank you so much for writing this. It means a great deal to me to know that you enjoyed FIELD, since I am a huge fan of your work. And especially today, which has been crappy on a number of fronts. THANK YOU!!!!

Rae said...

Cornelia rocks ;-)

David Terrenoire said...

Wow, that is some recommendation. Consider it added to my Santa letter.