Saturday, July 7, 2012

FLOWERING JUDAS by Jane Haddam







I read Jane Haddam for character, not plot.

In Flowering Judas, Gregor Demarkian goes away from his Armenian-American Philadelphia neighborhood to investigate an incident in Mattuck, New York. Mattuck is a growing small town.

Someone notices Chester Morton hanging from a billboard with his picture on it. They think he committed suicide.

The strange thing is that Morton disappeared twelve years ago. His wealthy, controlling mother has never ceased to look for him. To keep her search before the public, she buys billboards with his picture on them.

During Demarkian’s investigation someone kills another couple.

Demarkian does what he always does. He puts details in order. He notices things other people don’t notice. And he calls in professional help, the kind of help the town’s authorities have avoided. They want to continue being a small town because it gives them power.

As always, Haddam writes the books from several points of view. We look first through the eyes of one person, then through the eyes of another. This helps us know a lot of people.

When Demarkian investigates crimes away from his small ethnic neighborhood, we lose all those unique characters--Demarkian’s ditzy wife Bennis, Father Tibor, and Old George. These people play a lesser part in this book.

But we get to know a lot of other people.

I found this book better written than the last Demarkian novel I read. I enjoyed it for the same reasons I always like Jane Haddam’s writing. The people keep me reading.

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