Monday, November 16, 2015

Sacrifice by Sharon Bolton

I heard about Sharon Bolton when the Literary Feline over at Musings of a Bookish Kitty reviewed one of her books called Little Black Lies. It sounded awesome, and I wanted to borrow it, but the library didn't have it. They did, however, have her debut novel, Sacrifice, so I borrowed that.

Sacrifice is also a mystery, with a very interesting protagonist. Tora Hamilton is an outsider in the Shetland Islands, while her husband is not. While trying to bury a dearly departed horse, she finds a woman with her heart cut out. Her curiosity causes her to team up with the outcast on the police force, Dana, and they must work out what exactly is going on.

Where this book shines is in the ways it brings a small, closed community to life. Tora and Dana are clearly outsiders, and people are hiding something from them. As Dana puts it clearly - this is an old boy's club. This turns upstart women searching for the truth into something more than detectives, it approaches social commentary.

Of course, it's also possible that I'm reading too much into this, because my paper on women managers in Japan is so depressing. Do you know how many companies I've found that have 0 women managers? Way too many.

Anyway, back to Tora. Tora is clearly a capable woman, but she's not without her flaws. She's stubborn, and she does jump to conclusions a bit too quickly. But, I thought that these flaws make her more endearing, because she becomes more human. I'm used to extremely capable detectives (for example, Dana), but it's refreshing to see one that doesn't exactly bumble along, but doesn't have a smooth path to success. Tora is no Poirot, but she's a likeable character all the same.

I will definitely be going to read more of Sharon Bolton's novels. And I hope the library gets Little Black Lies someday soon.

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