Book review: The Old Deep and Dark, by Ellen Hart.

the old deep and darkHart, Ellen. The Old Deep and Dark. Minotaur Books. 2014. $25.99. 304 p. HC. 9781250047694.

In this 22nd installment in the Jane Lawless series, Jane agrees to help Cordelia, a theater director, solve the mystery of a body found buried in the basement walls of a theater she is attempting to restore. This investigation dovetails with Jane’s work on a country music scandal. As she begins to connect the dots, Jane realizes there is more to this haunted theater than meets the eye.

This story has much to give readers in the way of a compelling, fast-paced plot. The well-written plot includes accurate details about Minneapolis, the western sister of the Twin Cities that makes an ideal setting for a haunted theater. In plotting, The Old Deep and Dark does not disappoint: readers will be kept guessing and turning the pages until the very end.

Following many books about Lawless, this one doesn’t provide much character development. Fans of earlier novels in the series will find the same Jane up to her old tricks; newcomers to the series may wish to go to previous novels to learn more about Jane herself. Adaptation and character growth might help future offerings in this series instead of leaving Jane caught in time, the same character as in the first novel. It may be time for Jane to learn from her past mistakes.

The compelling pace of this story as well as its well-written mystery make it a recommended addition to any public library’s mystery collection.

Reviewer: Jenni Frencham, Librarian
Cesar Chavez Middle School, Hayward (CA)

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