HIDDEN RELICS. SUBMERGED SECRETS. BURIED EVIDENCE. . . .
American pathologist Nora Gavin has come to the Irish midlands to examine a body unearthed by peat workers at a desolate spot known as the Lake of Sorrows. As with all the artifacts culled from its prehistoric depths, the bog has effectively preserved the dead man's remains, and his multiple wounds suggest he was the victim of the ancient pagan sacrifice known as the triple death. But signs of a more recent slaying emerge when a second body, bearing a similar wound pattern, is found -- this one sporting a wristwatch. Someone has come to this quagmire to sink their dreadful handiwork -- and Nora soon realizes that she is being pulled deeper into the land and all it holds: the secrets to a cache of missing gold, a tumultuous love affair with archeologist Cormac Maguire, the dark mysteries and desires of the workers at the site, and a determined killer fixated on the gruesome notion of triple death.
Hailed for her multiple award-winning debut novel Haunted Ground, Erin Hart melds Irish history, archeology, and modern forensics in her eloquent, suspense-charged thrillers.
Can there be too much of a good thing Hart's second literary thriller starring pathologist Nora Gavin, set in the misty midlands and myth-laden peat bogs of County Offaly, is an Irish breakfast of a book: a kidney here, a sausage there, undeniably rich and delicious but likely to provoke indigestion unless consumed slowly. Every character is fascinating, from the depressed yet fearless and tenderly passionate Dr. Gavin, to the coldly erotic and bullying archeologist Ursula Downes, whose murder Nora helps solve nearly at the cost of her own life. The downside of Hart's talent is that there are so many beautifully realized lives in this novel-police detectives, archeologists, beekeepers, scholars, farmers, mothers-that readers will sink into the book as if it were the Loughnabrone ("Lake of Sorrows") Bog itself. Yet it's an emotionally and intellectually gorgeous descent. The many readers who grew attached to Nora and her on-again, off-again amour and sometime investigative partner, archeologist Cormac Maguire, in Haunted Ground will relish this new adventure, and eagerly await the hinted-at next volume, in which Nora seems likely to return to her native Minnesota to confront Peter Hallett, husband of her dead sister, Triona, and, Nora believes, Triona's killer. Hart's language sings, and the gothic atmosphere lingers the way peat clings to the skin of bog workers. Agent, Sally Wofford-Girand. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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February 27, 2006
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Excerpt from Lake of Sorrows by Erin Hart
It was the cold that roused him. The moment he plunged into the frigid water at the bottom of the bog hole, his eyes fluttered open, and his mind grasped the fact that he would certainly die here. He knew it was the reason he had been brought to this place, the reason he had been born. His body, however, seemed to require further persuasion. He shook his head, groggy, as though awakened from sleep. Was all this real, or only a vision of what was to come? He remembered running, a glancing blow, and before that --
For a moment he remained very still; then he struggled to right himself in the bog hole's narrow fissure, pressing against the walls with his hands and elbows, treading slowly against the dark, pulpy liquid into which he'd already sunk to his hips. It was pulling him in, downward. Nothing would stop him now. He gasped for air, feeling the leather cord encircling his throat, all at once aware of a strange, spreading warmth upon his chest -- blood, his own blood, sticky and metallic. But the primary sensation was cold, a deep, numbing chill combined with an utterly astonishing softness, whose deceitful purpose, he knew, was to draw him into its familiar, bosomy grasp and keep him here forever.
Above his head the midsummer evening remained fair and mild, and his eyes reflected the waning twilight still visible at the top of the bog hole, scarcely more than an arm's length above his head. His muscular shoulders were those of a man who had herded cattle milked at daybreak and evening, who each spring broke the virgin soil with his plow, who sowed corn and reaped it with sharpened blade -- a man ruled by circular, circadian rhythms of light and darkness. The slight hollows in his clean-shaven countenance bespoke hard labor and scant harvests.