How I came to read this book serves as a good example of one of the most basic benefits of the Internet that we all take for granted, which is how the Internet makes it possible for one to communicate with people that you might not ever interact with otherwise.
Last February, John Baker wrote me a note complimenting me on my review of Million Dollar Baby, I wrote back thanking him and we exchanged links. Of course, I saw on his blog that he was a mystery/crime writer but I had never heard of him because his books are published in the UK and you can only get his books as imports here in the States. So, I wrote him again and asked if he knew a place in New York where I could buy his books. He suggested Partners & Crime in the West Village, which turns out to be a neat little independent bookshop that is dedicated to mystery, crime, and suspense fiction, and which also has lots of interesting events and readings for mystery buffs.
All this is neither here nor there as far as John Baker’s novel is concerned, but I just thought this whole chain of events was kind of cool–randomly interact with an interesting guy, discover a cool little bookstore, and read a good book that I would proabaly never have read if Mr. Baker hadn’t dropped me a line.
So, anyway, onward with the review: The Meanest Flood is the most recent book in John Baker’s Sam Turner mystery series. Sam Turner is a private detective based in York (John Baker is also based in York), he’s a recovering alcoholic with an unpleasant past that he is trying to put behind him. In this book, someone from his past is out to seek revenge on him by attemping to kill every woman that Sam Turner had a serious relationship with and set-up Sam as the prime suspect. As the killer starts murdering the women in the order that Sam met them, there begins a race to stop him before he reaches Sam’s current partner.
Let me say, that I’m not a mystery or crime novel buff, I don’t generally read mysteries at all, but I really enjoyed this book. This is the sixth Sam Turner novel, and I imagine that many of the characters that make up Sam Turner’s network of friends and helpers have already been well established for those who have followed the series, but the characters are so well drawn that I found it easy to jump into Sam Turner’s world. In 312 pages John Baker tells a well paced story with thoroughly developed characters and still has room for interesting oberservations and commentary. After reading the first few chapters of the book you know exactly where John Baker stands politically (firmly on the left), but he does it in such a way that it seems natural to the narrative and the characters viewpoints. I doubt many people would have a problem with how the views are expressed through the characters and the narrative unless they were violently adverse those opinions.
All in all a really good and fun book, I definitely recommend it.
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