SAVAGE FALL is the second in THE CURT SAVAGE MYSTERY SERIES. If you love noir, action, sarcasm, and coffee combined into one intriguing witch’s brew, this one’s for you. In fact, you’ll need plenty of caffeine to keep up with this very fast-paced thriller.
The story picks up right where SAVAGE SUMMER lets off. Curt Savage leaves California and heads home. He no sooner lands, then Marge, his cranky next-door neighbor, gets him embroiled in a case involving a philandering husband. At least that’s what Bebe Clauson alleges. She’s sure her husband Nigel is cheating with a woman named Mildred, but needs to find out for sure before she kicks him to the curb. I kept hearing Destiny’s Child singing: “To the left, to the left” throughout!
I gotta say that Savage is at his sarcastic best in this suspense-thriller. While the name Mildred triggers a whole series of parries and thrusts, the investigation really begins with a visit to the Twisted Cherry Motel. The scene is hilarious, and his confrontation with desk clerk Jerry is classic. It contains some of the best one-liners ever. Lines such as, “There are a few rules in investigations, and one is to never cringe at the person’s appearance that you’re about to pump for info.”
Of course, Savage continues to discover more about his murdered fiancée, and what he finds is uber disturbing. The anonymous caller Dr. Shadows is there every step of the way, taunting Savage as he feeds him more clues. Then there’s the introduction of a new love interest. Will Ms. Victoria Marshall be enough to heal Savage’s broken heart? I don’t know, but Ms. Marshmallow is off to a good start. The abduction of Amy Weissman is not forgotten, and let me tell you that the answers uncovered are shocking. Then there’s this unexpected twist that had me shouting. I’m sure my neighbors were wondering what was going on, but I never saw it coming and it’s just one of the many surprises you’ll encounter.
In terms of style, there are multiple storylines going on, and I LOVE complex. Not many authors even attempt this feat because of the difficulty involved, but there’s an amazing clarity adhered to in SAVAGE FALL. Nothing gets tangled, lost or dropped. The paranormal that’s sprinkled in makes it all the more intriguing. Let me just state that I was in detective heaven whilst reading this!
You know, there was another mystery I went bonkers over. Its name is THE OUTSIDER by Emily Organ. Now SAVAGE FALL and the entire CURT SAVAGE MYSTERY SERIES are dramatically different than Ms. Organ’s work. While THE OUTSIDER is classic English mystery, THE CURT SAVAGE MYSTERIES are pure noir. However, both do have one thing in common and that is playing on the sense of paranoia on how well we know our neighbors. The English have always gotten this aspect of what makes murders so frightening right. It’s why writers such as Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell, and Caroline Graham are so popular. In films, Alfred Hitchcock had this element as an underpinning for most of his works. And it seems that Ms. Bainbridge also has discovered this key ingredient and uses it to her advantage in creating little masterpieces that keep us on the edge of our seats.
I’d also like give kudos to Ms. Bainbridge for the juggling act she performs in brilliantly weaving comedy into such heartfelt tragedy—and without missing a beat. The veering from one extreme to the other only enhances either the frivolity or terror of a scene and adds depth by toying with our emotions. It’s so difficult to do, but with deft hand, she manages to execute it superbly.
I highly recommend this book and series. It’s got everything a detective lover could ask for … and more! Just buy it!
Great job, Ms. Bainbridge! I can’t wait to start SAVAGE WINTER. As for SAVAGE FALL, I’m giving this awesome entry in the series 5.0 stars because mysteries don’t get better than this!