Tuesday, April 05, 2005

On Erin Hart's Haunted Ground

This weekend I finished reading Haunted Ground, by Erin Hart, and now I can't wait for the second in the series, Lake of Sorrows, to arrive so I can devour it too!

This is what the publisher's site says about Haunted Ground (Scribner $13):

Introducing Erin Hart, who brings the beauty, poignancy, mystery, and romance of the Irish countryside to her richly nuanced first novel.

When farmers cutting turf in a peat bog make a grisly discovery -- the perfectly preserved severed head of a young woman with long red hair -- Irish archaeologist Cormac Maguire and American pathologist Nora Gavin team up in a case that will open old wounds.
.....
And the red-haired girl is not the only enigma in this remote corner of Galway. Two years earlier, Mina Osborne, the local landowner's Indian-born wife,went for a walk with her young son and never returned. Did Mina simply decide to disappear, or did mother and child become lost in the treacherous bog? Could they, too, be hidden in its depths, only to be discovered centuries from now? Or did the landowner, Hugh Osborne, murder his family, as some villagers suspect?

Bracklyn House, Osborne's stately home, holds many secrets for Nora and Cormac and policeman Garrett Devaney. But time is running out. Devaney's superiors want him off the Osborne case. Now. He wants to stay and find a killer.

Meticulously crafted and resonating with traditional music and folklore, Haunted Ground celebrates Ireland's turbulent history, revealing the eternal, subliminal connections between past and present in a riveting novel that heralds the arrival of a bright new crime-writing star.

Haunted Ground weaves together several different stories: the search for more information about the red-headed bog girl led by archeologist Cormac and pathologist Nora; the investigation of the disappearance of a prominent citizen's wife and son led by a local cop; and Nora's complicated feelings about the (unsolved) murder of her sister. Add to that lovely writing and evocative descriptions, and... Erin Hart has another fan!

To illustrate, let me just quote a little bit of Cormac's thoughts as he watches Nora:
What he felt right now, looking at Nora, was something even stronger than physical desire --though he felt that intensely, too, he had to admit. But desire was swallowed up in a larger yearning to gain entrance, to wander the rooms and passageways inside her head, her heart, if she would allow him. Of course, that meant throwing open the doors, allowing her into his own hidden places as well. And for the first time in his life, that prospect actually seemed possible. (p96-97)

Just lovely -- the writing, and the moment.

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