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The Fugitive King by Sarah R. Shaber
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I enjoyed Shaber's first book, so downloaded four more to help pass the time while I recuperate from a broken fibula (doing fine, thanks).

This one began interestingly, with Simon being held at gunpoint. Julia began to get on my nerves, so I was glad Shaber went somewhere with that. I enjoyed meeting Simon's family, and learning a bit about life in the mountains of North Carolina.

What I did not enjoy, and that made me wonder, once again, was what her editor does to earn a salary. What an interesting plot twist, to bring in a Malungeon! But what poor writing skill to simply lecture us from an encyclopedia. I can wiki info, too. Shaber could easily have incorporated all the facts about this ethnic group into dialog between characters.

The interesting title deserved a bit more than just a page. And again, the reader didn't need a lecture on chess puzzles--why not enlarge the character of the uncle to have him explain how chess aficionados use "puzzle books." To tie the title to the actual story, Simon ruminates later that he felt this mystery (puzzle), too, began in the middle. For heaven's sake! He is a forensic historian!! Where else would it have begun?

Shaber needs to spend a bit more time on rewrites, or she needs to hire an editor. They really are worthy of their hire. ( )
  kaulsu | Jun 12, 2016 |
Sarah Shaber's third Simon Shaw mystery begins with Simon completing a semester at Kenan College and receiving a strange visit. An escaped convict wants Simon, who has gained a reputation for solving crimes, to exonerate him in the murder of a young woman whom he loved forty years ago in the NC mountains near Boone. Simon plans to ignore the request/demand but gets sucked into it. Looking into the story enables/forces Simon to visit his relatives in the mountains. Simon's interactions with his aunt, uncle, and others are fun to see, and his misadventures with girlfriend Julia keep his life beyond sleuthing in the picture.

It's interesting to see how Shaber sets things up, particularly in having various characters absent from their usual haunts at key times to allow events to proceed. Simon uses a similar technique within the story to set a trap for a killer. The title refers to a checkers problem that Simon's uncle shows him; Simon reflects later that he feels he has fallen into a situation in the middle, rather than starting at the beginning. A nice addition to a fun series. ( )
  Jim53 | Jan 25, 2016 |
I enjoyed the Raleigh, NC, setting, as always, and the addition of the Watauga County setting was fun for me too. Enjoyed the story as well, and the chance to "meet" some of Simon's family. ( )
  dukefan86 | May 29, 2013 |
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In memory of
Lynette Glazener Spencer
1953-2000

"Fare thee well, brave heart."
--Shakespeare
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A thick rhododendron branch whipped back, smacking the face of the older of the two men forcing their way through dense vegetation near the base of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0373264852, Mass Market Paperback)

Grave Truth.

When the remains of a young woman who disappeared forty years ago are found beneath the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, the man who went to prison for her murder asks Professor Simon Shaw to help prove his innocence. Happy to escape the city's summer heat and brewing romantic troubles, Shaw heads up the mountains to the scene of the crime -- his own hometown of Boone.

Putting small-town gossip, obliging relatives and old memories to good use, Shaw is surprised by the lack of evidence against Roy Freedman. But what would drive a man to confess to a murder he didn't commit? Did Roy kill Eva Potter or was he a convenient scapegoat? A second murder disguised as an accident points Simon in the right direction, leading him to a stunning discovery hidden deep in the hills, to a secret worth lying -- and killing for.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:20 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The discovered remains of a young woman are identified as those of Eva Potter, whose boyfriend is in jail having confessed to the murder. He now wants Simon Shaw to help find the real murderer. But when a key witness is killed, Simon realises that there is someone in Boone who doesn't want the truth discovered.… (more)

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