When Worms Abandon their Burrows a mystery thriller assumed published, copyright and written by Sean Parr.
After several years in St. Louis, the protagonist Emily Merton has returned home to the small town of Hannibal, Missouri where she had had spent her childhood. While in St Louis, she had established a reputation as an excellent investigative journalist and now was working freelance but with special assignments for the small but important local newspaper. As quite a talented sculptor, she also sells carved pieces from her small studio/shop and is commissioned to provide a piece for the reopening of Lover’s Leap, the well-known local attraction partly destroyed by recent flooding. The funding for the park’s refurbishing has been provided by Malcolm Spencer, a newly appointed CEO of a prominent New York City Investment Company. Unknown to the New Yorkers is the fact that he has served time for the rape of an 11-year-old girl seventeen years before in Hannibal. Actually, it was a crime he had NOT committed but lies, combined with poor police procedures and a poor lawyer with whom his family concurred were responsible. Ironically, the child raped had been Emily and now she was assigned to interview him. She, in turn decides to expose him at the dinner where he is invested with his new position. Her attempt at exposure backfires, but she unexpectedly overhears a private conversation (the content of which she alters when speaking later to Malcom) and the action moves back to Hannibal and the preparation for the park’s reopening ceremony. Presentation of more detail is unrealistic because of their number and convoluted interrelationship.
Discussion: An outright judgmental decision on this book is difficult in the extreme. It has an unusual plot, projects a suspenseful aspect that makes a reader continue to look forward to a plausible resolution but regrettably really requires an editor, or perhaps a mentor, to bring attention to the following. The story begins slowly with what appears to be stereotypical young girls who seem to continue at that level as grown women. The police work, even accepting the long-standing belief that small town departments suffer from inadequate staffing, is woefully poor; the lawyer again is ‘typically small town’; the inability of most characters to be truthful; the seeming inability of anyone to make sensible decisions; naivety of all to believe that an investment firm would select a CEO without really knowing his/her background; difficulty for anyone to believe the ruse he provides for the belief that the interview would remain ‘local’; and perhaps a very minor, but necessary, criticism that layered white pine is suitable for the lasting piece of sculpture that was to be placed in a position where it would be the recipient of constant change in weather conditions.
Summary: A seemingly somewhat contrived but impressive idea for a mystery thriller as a first by an author who shows promise.
3* 4* Mystery/thriller idea. Regrettably much less for presentation.