THESE WEE BONES
eBook (PDF), 331 Pages
In a vibrant inner-city Detroit environment, it’s a struggle for Callie Sadler and her assortment of odd-lot housemates and neighbors to keep their heads above water, let alone solve murders. Callie’s myriad good works--from coordinating the Dally in the Alley Street Fair to caring for her elderly neighbors and her chosen career as a legal aid attorney—-keep her busy and help her cope with her history of failed romances and lost opportunities. But when a neighborhood clean-up project unearths a sad secret, her special eye for human value where others have overlooked it makes Callie an unusual, intuitive detective, in spite of herself. A buried garment. A blind woman’s visions. New flowers on an old grave. Clues from unexpected sources pull Callie Sadler back in time to unravel an old mystery, ultimately discovering that she is not the only one living in the past---and that her life is in danger.
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May 9, 2011Francis Augusta Hogg has given us a treat in "These Wee Bones." As with all the best novels, she takes us to a place we've never been before, in this case an inner city Detroit neighborhood. We meet a variety of living, breathing, very real characters, a true neighborhood where everyone is invested, struggling against almost overwhelming odds, and getting along while trying to keep up, if not get ahead. We admire them, and struggle with them. Hogg gives us people to root for, and a heroic character in Callie Sadler, who struggles to do her best under trying circumstances. For a murder mystery, this novel is surprisingly heart warming. This place is real, and the reader can feel the truth in Hogg's depictions. Very well done, very enjoyable read!
Mar 24, 2011TIRED of the SAME OLD NOIR? If you find yourself on yet another rain-slicked street, on a moonless night, and suddenly hear the sound of footsteps behind you, the first thing to go through your mind should not be Déjà vu. If you’ve had your fill of hard talking tough guys trying to prove to each other who’s meaner, savvier, or better at what they do (and these are the good guys), then perhaps you should acquaint yourself with Callie Sadler. Try to imagine what might happen if you took a single, white woman in her early forties, saddled her with the responsibility of raising a child not her own, and plopped her down in a run-down section of Detroit, circa 1995. That is what Frances Augusta Hogg, has done in These Wee Bones, the first in a trilogy of Callie Sadler mysteries. The result is as far from feeling like you’ve been down this street before, as the Dally in the Alley Street Fair is to Mardi Gras, in New Orleans. The author purposefully, and cheerfully, disregards... More > whatever rules, regulations, or guidelines many writers in this genre dutifully cling to. For instance, when was the last time your favorite detective had to get a baby-sitter before she could follow up a hot tip? On top of that she’s not really a detective, a cop, or private investigator. She’s not a coroner, a forensic pathologist, or a big city crime beat reporter. In fact, she’s practically unemployed. She certainly isn’t getting paid for trying to solve this crime. So who is this Callie Sadler, you may be asking yourself, and why should I care? Callie Sadler is a legal aid attorney who has put her career on hold to raise a child abandoned by a student she’d once rented a room to for six months. She is barely making ends meet by writing articles for the districts newspaper, and some occasional freelance legal work. Although these low-level positions give her little authority, they allow her access to information the public can’t easily retrieve. This book is not set in a ‘cool’ place like L.A., New York, New Orleans, or even Boston. It’s not in the tropics, or on an island off the New England coast, or anything close to being called exotic. It’s set in a dying neighborhood in Detroit. You find yourself wondering as you’re reading, why someone would choose this place as the backdrop for their story? It doesn’t take long though, to figure out that these characters were created by someone who had lived there, someone who knew these people. The neighborhood recreated in These Wee Bones is as diverse and colorful as Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, the characters that inhabit it varied and very much alive. Think of this! A crime has been committed and the cops are interviewing everyone at the scene. In most books the reader either goes home with the cops, or home with the bad guy. Well in this case we stay with one of the people the cops questioned and released. Luckily for us we got left with Callie Sadler, and Callie just happens to be the kind of person who finds herself in the wrong place at the right time, or the other way around. Whichever the case, she’s able to find clues by ending up in places she hadn’t intended to be, by asking the sort of questions most people didn’t ask, and by hearing things from people a woman of her background would normally have no reason to be acquainted with. If you think of most Noir as hard-boiled, then you could call These Wee Bones, in spite of the grim subject matter, a sunny-side up mystery. Instead of a brooding loner who isn’t afraid to crack skulls, you’ll get a forty-three year old woman trying to lose a few pounds, and giving freely of her time to those less fortunate. Instead of pool-halls and bars, you’ll be having breakfast at the Ho-Ho, and going to meetings at the local high school. Instead of a precinct house you’ll squeeze into the tiny sub-station that serves the community. And instead of the usual exploding expletives, you’ll get a woman whose response to a human skull tumbling from a trash pile to land at her feet is, “Oh crap.” I found it refreshing that the author avoided all the things we’ve come to expect in a mystery novel. The challenge Ms. Hogg has created for herself is akin to asking a comedian to make you laugh without swearing, without getting too sexual or too negative, and she pulls it off. She manages to walk the line between the dark, graphic thrillers and the “cozy”, meant to joy-buzz the faint of heart, without getting her shoes soiled by the blood on one side, or the spilled chamomile tea on the other.< Less
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- Frances Augusta Hogg (Standard Copyright License)
- Pen-in-Hand Press
- September 28, 2011
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