Book review: Fever in the Dark, by Ellen Hart

Hart, Ellen. Fever in the Dark. Minotaur Books, 2017. HC. $25.99.
ISBN 9781250088635.

I’m happy to report that after nearly 30 years of successful “Jane Lawless” mysteries, author Ellen Hart has by no means begun to “phone it in”. Her current “cozy” series entry, still set in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, is engrossing and entertaining, with all of Hart’s reliable hallmarks happily in evidence.

Fiona and Annie are about to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary. To their surprise, their marriage proposal video has gone viral, creating a national sensation and winning them many sincere, though sometimes intrusive, supporters (and a few detractors) everywhere they turn. Fiona is in fact being stalked by an unknown admirer. Since she works for Jane’s erstwhile crime-solving crony, flamboyant theatre director Cordelia Thorn, Fiona enlists restauranteur Jane’s services in locating the stalker, though the part-time PI is dealing with professional and personal issues of her own. In the meantime, when Annie’s estranged family comes to visit, and her philandering brother-in-law is murdered, dark secrets are revealed and relationships are tested.

This mystery novel read with lightning speed, as Hart’s writing skills grabbed me from page 1. Her character development and dialogue scenes are first-rate. Interestingly enough, Jane and Cordelia are not always her action’s main focus here, thus allowing Hart the chance to flesh out her other folks and keep things moving. It’s also happily apparent that Hart plans still more “Lawless” volumes to come, as Jane’s bumpy relationship with a former romantic partner takes a new turn, with a few dangling ends obviously yet to be resolved.

This novel is highly recommended for all fiction collections. No resting on laurels for Ellen Hart, and we can all be grateful for just that.

Cathy Ritchie
Materials & Collection Management
Dallas (TX) Public Library


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