Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Whispering Room by Amanda Stevens

New Orleans homicide detective Evangeline Theroux has hit a rough spot in her life. She is a widow after her husband Johnny Theroux, who was also a New Orleans police officer, was shot three times and killed in what appeared to be a drug hit.

She has a 5 month old baby who she feels disconnected from. Not that she’s a bad mother. She’s definitely not. She just feels that she hasn’t done enough to earn the love of the precocious little boy and he looks too much like Johnny to get past the resemblance.

Evangeline is something of an outcast among her fellow officers. They find her to be a cold fish, cynical, tough, confident, and tenacious enough to earn the nickname Ghoul girl. What they don’t understand, since they are mostly men, is that women have to work 100 percent harder than men on the job in order to earn any semblance of respect from their counterparts. She also has the highest clearance rate of any murder cop in the city.

Evie and her partner Mitchell Hebert end up with a bizarre case of a man who was killed by snake bites. Not just one or two, but numerous. The man was a high profile lawyer to a scum bag drug runner who we learn, has his hands in everything including corrupt Police Officers. If that wasn’t enough to pique the interests of many people, Evie and Mitchell find out that the dead mans own brother was killed in a similar way; bitten by snakes.

Evie soon finds that her own life and as well that of her 5 year old son JD, has turned into a puzzle of its own. The FBI under Special Agent Declan Nash has been keeping an eye on Evie and tried to keep her away from the nefarious drug dealer to save her from the same fate that killed her husband. Soon thereafter, a strange man and blond woman are seen not only at her house, but at her mother’s as well and someone continues to leave origami birds lying around for Evie to find.

After pulling Evie from the case, her captain Angelette Lapierre advises Evie that she needs to find time to speak to a true crime writer named Lena Saunders. Saunders claims that she may have the answers to who the real killer of Paul Courtland is, as well as answers to her husband’s death but will only speak to Evie.

Lena spins a story about the Lemay family who 30 years ago, was left devastated after the mother, Mary Alice Lemay, killed her two young sons. Lena tells Evie about the two surviving sisters Rebecca and Ruth, who may have helped their mother kill their brothers because they contained the evil gene. There was another survivor to the nightmare; a little baby girl that was born at the same time Mary Alice was killing her two boys. If you connect the dots, you will find out almost immediately who the baby is, and why her own son has been targeted to be killed off.

Whispering Room transverses 30 years from the start of the book, to the final conclusion. It is the story of a mother’s fight to save the life of her little boy from being just another victim of those who truly are sick and disturbed into believing there is a so called Evil Gene within their family. It is also the awakening of Evie to the discovery that her husband wasn’t who she thought he was, and finding the means to move on with someone else to care about and love instead of reveling in self-pity.

I’ve always liked the setting of New Orleans for the background for any story. The city itself has a steep history that truly hasn’t been fully explored enough in my opinion. The story takes place after Katrina came through New Orleans and forever changed the landscape and the people who lived there. It does take a shot at police corruption in New Orleans, but that is fact, not fiction as anyone who has read the news or has lived in Louisiana for any period of time is well aware of. It's the nature of the beast called Louisiana politics.

One thing, if you don’t like snakes, and I don’t mean just one, or two, but a whole shit load of snakes--you might want to keep the light on when you read this book otherwise you will find yourself looking under your couch, and bed, and everywhere else you might think to find a snake.

I've become a fan of Stevens writing after reading her solo works The Dollmaker, and The Devil's Footprints, as well as the Restorer an Urban fantasy novel which is the first book in the Graveyard Queen series. I look forward to reading the second book in the series called The Kingdom when it releases April 1, 2012.

Title: The Whispering Room
Author: Amanda Stevens
Release Date: March 1, 2009
Genres: Mystery & Thriller

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