On the surface, civil war history, archaeological investigation, and fanatical creationism seem like an odd mix with which to lay the foundations for a contemporary mystery, but Parker Francis brings it all together and makes it work.
Bring Down The Furies centres around Quint Mitchell, private investigator, and his search for Ricardo DeAngelis, the so-called Heartthrob Bandit. His investigations lead him to a small town of in South Carolina where even the Heartthrob Bandit must take a back seat to a serial arsonist and the very public, media-fuelled confrontation between Dr. Youngblood and Pastor Labon.
The interwoven investigations work remarkably well, maintaining an honest sense of mystery, and keeping the story moving. You can feel the tension running through the town, along with the mix of terror and anger. Allendale is a sad little town, full of decaying Southern charm, and very much aware of its storied history. The characters are surprisingly well-developed as well, coming across as genuine inhabitants, rather than just the standard roles required by the mystery genre. Even the gruff sheriff manages to surpass his role.
There are several twists to the story, with a few surprises along the way. I wasn't expecting the efficiency with which Francis wraps things up. In fact, I was worried there would be too much coincidence and convenience required to tie up all the loose threads but, without giving away any spoilers, it all comes together very well in the end.
Published November 5th 2012 by Windrusher Hall Pres
Paperback, 332 pages