Friday, June 6, 2008

Sweeping up Glass-Carolyn D. Wall

Sweeping up Glass
Carolyn D. Wall
Poisoned Pen, Aug 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9781590585122

In 1938 Kentucky, Olivia Harker Cross runs Harker’s Grocery; her only help comes from preadolescent Will’m, whose mom Pauline dumped him on her before vanishing. Business is poor as no one can afford much. Looking back she thinks about her mom Ida living in a sanitarium in nearby Buelton, while her beloved Pap Tate ran a still and cared for ailing animals. Though married to Saul, for three decades Olivia has loved trumpeter Wing Harris who reciprocates, but neither has made the first move beyond howdy.

After Tate delivered a litter of puppies, he ran into James Arnold Phelps. Soon afterward Pap was dead and Ida had come home. Saul died not long afterward. Despondent, Olivia turned to Wing, but he rejected her. Even further upset, she chases after seedy male losers in dives.

However, she began to turn it around when Pauline dropped off Will’m on her as he is her salvation. When they hear shots fired by the mysterious Hunt Club members tracking silver-faced wolves, the pair becomes frightened as it is too cold to be outdoors hunting for sport. However, they soon have a bigger fear as the hunters stalk Olivia and Will’m.

Not for everyone as this is a strange historical thriller in which fans obtain a deep look at a beleaguered heroine who is seemingly betrayed by her loved ones whom she has loyally taken care of. Will’m is her redemption as Olivia will do whatever it takes to keep the boy safe although that might mean breaking the perceptions she and others have of her. Fans who enjoy something different will relish a tense look at Depression Era rural Kentucky.

Harriet Klausner