17 October 2011

Review: The Sandburg Connection by Mark de Castrique

The following review was written for Shelf Awareness for Readers. It was not published in the newsletter but may eventually appear on their website.

Mark de Castrique's third Sam Blackman novel, The Sandburg Connection, starts mid-action as private investigators Blackman and Nakayla Robertson are hot on the trail of Janice Wainwright, who is suing a back surgeon for malpractice. If Wainwright is in so much pain, why is she heading for the Carl Sandburg estate, outside of Ashville, North Carolina, to go hiking? By the time the partners catch up with her at trail's end, they find Wainwright dying and mumbling, "It's the verses. Sandburg's verses." Realizing that the PIs have already collected important data on the victim, law enforcement officials ask for collaboration: Are they looking at murder, malpractice, or an unfortunate accident, and what role does the poet play?

As in the other novels in this series, a complex murder mystery is founded in facts about a famous literary figure (earlier books featured Thomas Wolfe and F. Scott Fitzgerald) and historical information (such as the Civil War). De Castrique draws on his personal links with Ashville and the Sandburg family to create a multidimensional mystery, complete with attention-grabbing red herrings that keep PIs Blackman and Robertson on their toes.

Readers new to the series will have no trouble connecting to the protagonists and the reappearing secondary characters. Avoiding spoilers, de Castrique brings readers up to date on an as-needed basis without resorting to long sections of background narrative. Blackman and Robertson are smart but make mistakes, are compassionate but know when to use their guns, and have a great relationship both on and off the job.

Give it to me quickly: When insurance fraud leads to a possible murder, investigator Sam Blackman must find the links between local lore, the Civil War, and Carl Sandburg's poetry before anyone else gets hurt.

The Sandburg Connection at Powell's
The Sandburg Connection at Book Depository
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Published by Poison Pen Press, October 4, 2011
ISBN-13: 9781590589410
Source: Review (see review policy)
Rating: B
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)

9 comments:

Sheila (Bookjourney) 10/17/11, 10:14 AM  

I do like a good mystery and throw in some literary figures and a little history.... hmmm....

Zibilee 10/17/11, 10:53 AM  

The fact that this one holds so many literary clues really interests me, as does the fact that there is not a lot of needless backtracking inserted in the story. I am glad to hear that you liked this one, and will have to think about checking it out. Very nice review today!

Alice Audrey 10/17/11, 11:47 AM  

Sounds like a good read. That business about going on a hike when clearly she shouldn't is interesting.

I have an award for you.

Barbara 10/17/11, 1:53 PM  

This sounds like a real book lover's mystery. It's going on my list for sure.

Dorte H 10/17/11, 4:30 PM  

Intriguing last words.

Col (Col Reads) 10/17/11, 4:34 PM  

I can't believe I missed this series, but I think I need to put it on my TBR!

bermudaonion 10/17/11, 4:46 PM  

Oh no, another series that sounds great!

Beth Hoffman 10/18/11, 8:54 AM  

I have the feeling I'd really like this series!

Kailana 10/20/11, 12:25 PM  

This series sounds good! There are too many series that sound good...

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