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THE FAULT TREE by Louise Ure

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By Theresa de Valence - Posted on 03 December 2007

THE FAULT TREE is an especially good book, one of the best I’ve read this year.

Louise Ure’s use of language makes you stop and reread the last sentence or two. Often. She builds word structures which swirl about your mouth like chocolate—the flavours burst—the shock makes you feel as though you’d been asleep. You eye the words with a new kind of respect. By the time you’re well into the book, you’re in love with the wordmaster.

But it isn’t just the clever words which keep you there.

I don’t read book covers, book flaps or the middle of most book reviews because I don’t want to know anything about the characters or the plot—I think the author deserves a blank page with which to entice me into her story. THE FAULT TREE proves the point of this premise: when it’s well done, it’s magnificent. Within a few paragraphs I was fooled one way and then another, as the author introduced me to the protagonist.

THE FAULT TREE has a fine protagonist: acute, sympathetic and determined—and plenty of angst. Louise Ure’s fine writing exposes the protagonist’s history, along with current storylines, laying out the threads of each tale in long simple strands, then she weaves them into a tapestry rich with colourful motivation, patterns of behaviour, blame and resolution.

THE FAULT TREE is not too cozy. Cozy mystery readers don’t want to be upset by misfortune falling on people they care about—they want to know this to be true before they start reading. However, a good tale is one which keeps you on the edge of your seat worrying about the safety of people you just met. You will worry about dangers to the protagonist and the people close by.

THE FAULT TREE is not too dark. People do die senselessly (after all it is crime fiction) but the story isn’t gruesome. Most importantly, the reader doesn’t feel ashamed to be human.

THE FAULT TREE is just right.

January 2008
Published by St. Martin’s Minotaur