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The Dead Survivors: A Mars Bahr Mystery by…

The Dead Survivors: A Mars Bahr Mystery (2002)

by Kj Erickson

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I couldn't resist the lure of the description on the back cover: a murder that looks like suicide, with a motive apparently connected to the Battle of Gettysburg and a current controversy over a regimental flag. It sounded like the perfect book for an amateur genealogist like me. I was favorably impressed by the first book in this series when I read it a few weeks ago, and I was hoping for more of the same. Unfortunately the second book in the series didn't live up to the promise of the first one.

I admire the author's creativity in coming up with the concept for the murder and its historical anchor. I just wish it had been better executed. I couldn't get past the flaws in the research process the characters used to find vital statistics for 19th century individuals. In the book, a team of researchers sat in front of computers and used online databases to look up birth and death dates for men who fought at Gettysburg. If only it were that easy in real life! Most of the databases referred to in the book either don't exist or don't provide the kind of results the characters in the book found. Although more and more records are being digitized and made available online, many more are available only in historical archives, county record offices, church offices, or other places that must be visited in person. The author doesn't appear to have included archivists, professional librarians, or genealogists in her acknowledgments list, any one of whom could have helped the author to better understand sources of information for 19th century individuals and how to access them. ( )
2 vote cbl_tn | May 2, 2010 |
This book was good, but not very memorable plot. As in the first book of the series, Mars Bahr and his son Chris have a wonderful relationship. The characters are very lovable and are in fact why I will continue with the series. However, The plot slow and somewhat predictable. This story was about a hanging suicide that has unanswered questions. Once it is investigated it turns out to be a murder that is linked to the civil war and a confederate flag that was captured by the first Minnesota volunteers. The flag connection was actually interesting. I think it's definitely worth the read, but not one I would read again. ( )
1 vote Joybee | Apr 12, 2010 |
Second in the Marshall “Mars” Bahr police procedural series set in Minneapolis. Mars is a Special Investigator assigned to a unique task force that only handles homicides not gang- or drug-related. Business has been a little slow and there are concerns that the creation of the group is a waste of time and money. This book starts with Mars being asked by a patrolman that he’d had contact with on a previous case to look at a death that was written off as a suicide by the patrolman’s Sergeant. Some things just didn’t ‘sit right’ and after only a short time investigating, Mars’ infamous gut feelings are leading him to the same conclusion, and a homicide investigation is opened fairly shortly afterwards. The investigation leads to connections to another murder in Wisconsin, and a possible serial killer who seems to be killing people who had ancestors who were tied to a Civil War battle, but just how they’re connected, how the killer is choosing them and of course who the killer is remain unanswered questions. How to investigate properly without alarming millions of people is a big consideration, and the whole investigation is complicated by the fact that Mars ends up in hospital with appendicitis and has surgery and by the fact that it’s the Christmas holidays. Who can be expected to evoke much cooperation with other agencies during the holidays? As some of you know, the Civil War is not one of my favorite time periods but while there was a strong tie-in to the Battle of Gettysburg, most of the action was firmly in the present time and the storyline kept me thoroughly enthralled. I liked this book better than the first in series and am looking forward to the next one. ( )
  Spuddie | Oct 10, 2008 |
It was a satisfactory read. ( )
  carolmt | Feb 24, 2008 |
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For every Southern boy ... there is the instant when it's ... not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon ... and it's all in the balance. --William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust
For Jack and Dach, two exceptional southern boys
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At four o'clock on that December afternoon, the dim winter sun cast a shallow light across Joey Beck's apartment.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312983247, Paperback)

When Frank Beck, a sympathetic dreamer on a lifelong losing streak, is found hanged during a lonely Minnesota snowstorm, everyone assumes that he committed suicide. But Minneapolis Homicide Detective Marshall Bahr can't make sense of the numbers inscribed on Beck's right arm or the fact that a guy who was described as sloppy could tie a perfect hangman's noose for himself...

Mars begins to dig deep into Beck's life and uncovers an obscure fact in the dead man's ancestry-a connection to the Battle of Gettysburg-and to make sense of its bearing on this homicide, he needs to understand nineteen seconds of action at the end of this historical battle. Could Beck's death-by-hanging be related to the Civil War?

Then another body turns up-and another. Now Mars is on the trail of a serial killer whose motive seems to be related to a contemporary controversy about Gettysburg. From the freezing Minnesota winter to Richmond, Virginia, Mars embarks on an investigation where he discovers that past and present co-mingle-and old grudges lead to modern murder

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:05 -0400)

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"Frank Beck, a man with terminal colon cancer, a new divorce, and a stack of debts, hangs himself. It's an open-and-shut suicide - except for a string of numbers inscribed on Beck's right arm. Minneapolis Homicide Detective Marshall Bahr can't make sense of the numbers or the fact that a guy everyone describes as sloppy tied a perfect hangman's noose for himself. But then he uncovers an obscure fact in the dead man's ancestry - a connection to the Battle of Gettysburg - and to make sense of its bearing on this homicide, he needs to understand ninety seconds of action at the end of this historical battle.""Mars and his partner, Nettie Frisch, begin to theorize based on the idea that this death-by-hanging just might be related to the Civil War. Then another body turns up, and before Mars can even believe it's true, they're on the trail of a serial killer whose motive seems to be related to a contemporary controversy about Gettysburg and the descendants of the First Minnesota Volunteers, the legendary northern regiment who turned the tide against the Confederacy on that fateful day."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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