Wednesday, November 12, 2008

River of Darkness

Veterans have always suffered from the horrors of war. Vietnam veterans struggle desperately with post-traumatic-stress syndrome. The men who returned home from World War II were wracked with shell-shock. The hero of River of Darkness suffers from battle fatigue to such an extent that his superiors at Scotland Yard question his fitness for duty. But John Madden's terrible experiences in the trenches make him both uniquely qualified to solve the mystery of the slaughter of a family and more vulnerable to its horror. This is just a fascinating book, really awful acts couched in a time and place we think of as more genteel, when it was just as brutal as life can be now. Only with fewer forensic scientists. There's a sequel, The Blood-Dimmed Tide, but don't worry about being overwhelmed with a series. It took him six years to write this one. Both well worth the read.

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