With the acclaimed novel Penumbra, Carolyn Haines branched out from the cozy Southern mysteries that made her name and moved into more ominous, more literary territory. She continues that exploration of the darker side of the South with Fever Moon. Set in New Iberia, Louisiana, during World War II, Fever Moon begins when Deputy Raymond Thibodeaux discovers Adele Hebert covered in blood and hovering over the brutally eviscerated body of Henri Bastion, a wealthy plantation owner. In the aftermath of the murder, Adele claims to be the loup-garou, a legendary Cajun shape-shifter that traditionally takes the shape of a wolf, and panic ensues in this small town that already has been livingunder the pressures of wartime rationing and poverty. Raymond is determined to restore order, but to do so he'll have to prove that Adele isn't a murderer or a monster.
In this dark and swirling literary thriller, Carolyn Haines tells the story of a town that is caught up in the frenzy of a murder and a killer who feeds its terror to suit his own purposes.
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A Near Perfect Mystery with Strong, Smart Women
Without question. I've already recommended it to several friends, even those who don't particularly like mysteries. The narrator shifts focus between four protagonists. The two women protagonists are smart, strong, financially independent women who are holding out for love interests who will treat them as equals. The story gives each character nice depth and background, and the ancillary characters are equally fascinating and well-developed. Haines deals compassionately and earnestly with PTSD from both sexual violence and war.
This is a gorgeous period piece that emphasizes the experiences of strong women and compassionate men. There's also a gorgeous bit of north American history woven throughout, alongside the riveting period details of the deep, rural South during WWII.
The plot was paced perfectly and both the mystery and interpersonal storylines were gripping. By the middle of the book, I was deeply emotionally invested.
Elisa Carlson was a good narrator, but the recording quality left a lot to be desired.
Finally, a book that can discuss rape, war, and gender dynamics easily, honestly, and respectfully. Haines deftly weaves her characters' survival histories into their interactions. Even better, we get happy endings for our beloved protagonists. Haines proves that you can tell the truth without derailing a story or bringing down the mood. She just showed whole, complex characters who had realistic life stories. I'm so impressed.