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- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
How can you improve on success? If you want to see an author who knows exactly how to achieve this lofty goal, read D.B. Martin's "Patchwork People," the second book of the Patchwork trilogy.
In the first novel, "Patchwork Man", we meet Lawrence A. Juste, QC, noted British counselor whose sterling record before the bar is about to catapult him to the Queen's Bench, the culmination of the dreams of many lawyers in the United Kingdom. The unsuspecting Juste is devastated by the untimely death of his strictly proper wife Margaret, killed by a hit-and-run driver. She has carefully crafted Lawrence's life so his path to the bench will be free of obstacles. Margaret is, by all accounts, the perfect wife for Lawrence. She seems coldly flawless, but was she?
As he takes time to prepare for her funeral, he is unwittingly drawn into the case of a boy who is unjustly accused of a crime. His late wife seems to be reaching out from the grave to direct his steps in this effort. Why would she do this? Is there something she never told her husband? As he plunges into this shadowy world, Juste is reacquainted with a family he has pushed aside and a nemesis he has tried not only to forget but also banish from all aspects of his life. Juste wins the case but at what cost?
In the first novel, Martin brilliantly paints a word picture that challenges you to follow and then provides the equivalent of a literary trail of crumbs to ensure that you do. From cover to cover, "Patchwork Man" is the equivalent of a novel-length trail of crumbs that leads you, quite willingly, to "People."
In "People," the past does rear up to ensnare the unwitting counselor-at-law. Indeed, his carefully constructed world -- built on a tissue of half-truths -- begins to crumble as a murder and a blackmail scheme threatens to put him behind bars. In the first novel, we found that Lawrence's real name is Kenny Juss and that he comes from a rather large, and not to respectable, family. We also found that Kenny may have known his sister Kimmy quite intimately at a rather debauched legal victory party a decade earlier. That party resulted in the birth of a boy who could be the Lawrence/Kenny's son, but is he? Indeed, did he really do his sister or was it someone else? If so, who was it?
Again, Martin pulls you into a world of shadows where the truth, half-truth and outright lie merge and separate only to merge again in a new pattern. For instance, is Lawrence/Kenny's new main squeeze Kat, an alluring social worker who is supposedly looking out for the young Danny -- the result of the party -- really who she says she is? Or, was Margaret really who Lawrence/Kenny believed her to be or was she something else? And, how about Win, his older brother, or even Heather, his law partner, were they really who they seemed? They are all patched together of many pieces that Lawrence/Kenny must arrange and rearrange to make any sense of things.
Everyone in Martin's fascinatingly well-written psycho-mystery has more facets than an expensive diamond, even the seemingly bumbling detective chief inspector. The characters are so well-crafted that, while you are in this patchwork world, they seem real. It is a world where you become concerned about the chief character and worry as his life tumbles down around his ears.
The very capable author, a master of words and writing, carefully builds a new lattice for Lawrence, as she sculpts the story through many intricate twists and turns. Martin has a real gift that she, thankfully, has chosen to share with her readers. Her gift is the ability to literally pull you into "Patchwork People" and keep you there as you hope that Lawrence will triumph.
Martin's ability to foreshadow and then build to the penultimate moment of denouement is exciting and a tribute to her ability. She is one of very few mystery writers whom I have read that has this ability that harkens to the masters of the craft. If you want to see a modern master at work in a highly enjoyable work then take the time to read "Patchwork People," as you will be glad you did. I would suggest making this enjoyable experience last by reading "Patchwork Man" first and then "People" second. You will quickly find out that not everything is what it seems, or is it?