Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Last BookLook - Springville paper closed down

Not sure what will happen to BookLook now. I will be having a meeting in the next week or so with Provo Daily Herald who owned and closed The Springville Herald. Hopefully I will be able to continue writing. Here is the last review printed in the column. No one knew about the closing or we would have all done something spectacular instead of a routine article.

BookLook January 27, 2011
Debbie Balzotti

“Queen of the Night”
It’s the dead of winter. The weatherman gleefully announces that we haven’t seen temperatures above freezing for weeks. Inversions are blown out of our mountain valley by snow storms depositing several inches of heavy wet stuff which turns to ice and stays plastered to sidewalks and roads. It’s time to head to St. George with a good book in the CD player and the promise of warmth and sunshine just four hours south!

J.A. Jance, an award winning mystery writer, wrote “Queen of the Night” in 2010 and dedicated it to the late Tony Hillerman. Like Hillerman, Jance brings many tribal legends and contemporary Native American practices into her story about the Cereus desert flower known as Queen of the Night. The fragrant white flower only blooms one night each spring but this year it is also a night of murder on the Tohono O’odham reservation in Arizona.

Retired sheriff Brandon Walker is again solving murders past and present. He is asked to follow-up on a 50 year-old cold case where a witness is ready to talk. He is also involved with the four brutal murders recently committed just outside of Tucson. His wife Diana and adopted Native American daughter Lani soon become involved in the cases.

One small part of the book involved the token Mormon character. Mormon is often used as a handy adjective to describe an extremely religious person with impossibly high standards of behavior – like using crazy or freakish. Why can’t she be a Methodist or a Presbyterian? Wouldn’t those good parents of teenage daughters get upset when they found out the girls were drinking and breaking the law in 1959? Well at least she wasn’t portrayed as another polygamist wife so I guess I should just get over it.

The rough gravelly voice of the narrator Greg Itzin helps the reader keep the large cast of characters straight as he pitches his voice high and low and slightly accented when needed. No easy task in a J.A. Jance novel filled with dozens of main characters. Hiking in the desert country around St. George is the perfect way to really get into the setting of the concluding chapters. And who knows? I might meet one of those other Mormons on the trail; you know the polygamist kind, not the freakish kind.

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