Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review-Black Swan, by Chris Knopf



BLACK SWAN
A Sam Acquillo Hamptons Mystery
by Chris Knopf
The Permanent Press
May 2011
$28.00, 304pages
978-1-57962-216-9





Synopsis from The Permanent Press

"A savage storm maroons Sam Acquillo, his girlfriend Amanda and charming nut-case pooch Eddie Van Halen on a nearly-deserted island off the tip of Long Island. Not just any island, but an enclave of old money eccentrics, xenophobic natives and a family of high tech refugees threatened by vicious mercenaries and secrets of their past.
Sam just wants to fix his boat and move on, but tempests both manmade and meteorological take over, and suddenly everything is on the line, including his own life." ~The Permanent Press



My Review

It’s not often I fall in love with a character in a novel, but Sam Acquillo is a viable understudy for a lead stand-in for the few who come to mind. Competition is tough, but his clever wit and  boldness is reminiscent of a few, a Macguiver type comes to mind. (Macguiver, for those who don't recall the television series,  will soon be released in a movie version).  Women can love this guy, because he is charming, yet not full of himself, an embraceable quality.  He is boyishly respectful and shy around women and loves his dog, Eddie an animated little mutt. After abandoning his engineering career to become a carpenter he has appointed himself part-time crime detective. 

In this his fifth novel of the series, he and his girlfriend Amanda take refuge on Fishers Island during a storm. They are on their way to deliver the newly purchased sailboat, Carpe Mañana to Sam’s friend. Their arrival is met with a lackluster welcome by Christian Fey, the hotel owner of the Black Swan. Now retired after working in the computer technology industry, he lives with his son Axel, a brilliant albeit annoying autistic savant and Anika, his son’s sister.  Anika Fey,  is an artistic sultry siren who has a much warmer greeting and underlying intentions for the seemingly unguarded Sam.  As in the infamous board-game Clue, a guest and friend of the owner is found dead and there are limited suspects.  Sam discounts suicide immediately and when the local police woman is found seriously beaten, his suspicions are solidified. 

Chris Knopf is a poetically powerful writer.  His keen observing eye provides a vivid awareness of your presence within the story and knowing the characters.  He commands the readers engagement.  His imagery is fluid and imaginative providing a sensual experience.  You can almost feel the fog, smell the salt air with a shivered chill and fear the forces of the frenetic winds of the hurricane.  His storytelling is a satisfying adventure.  It simmers slowly, clues emerge but are turbid, like the waters of the storm until the aftermath, when all becomes clear.  It is understandable why his previous four novels have earned such deserving praise.  Highly recommended.


Disclosure: The copy of this book was sent as a gift by the publisher. My review, as always, is my honest unbiased opinion without prejudice.


© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2011].

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