The Mysterium: A Novel of Deconstruction

Eric McCormack, Author
Eric McCormack, Author St. Martin's Press $20.95 (259p) ISBN 978-0-312-11320-9
Hardcover - 300 pages - 978-0-7475-1582-1
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McCormack (The Paradise Motel) keeps disbelief at bay throughout this strange, ingenious riddle of a mass extermination that won't stay solved despite a confession written in ink all over the body of the man who confesses. Carrick is a fog-shrouded, former mining town-a place of coal smoke, dead bracken and heather-in the Uplands of a country identified only as the Island. Recent acts of vandalism-the mutilation of a war memorial, desecration of a cemetery, acid thrown on books at the library-are followed by the death of a shepherd, whose body is found with his lips cut off. Then a plague strikes, killing first the animals, then children and adults. Most of the victims become garrulous, in effect talking themselves to death. Could a mad poisoner be avenging the loss of 19 Carrick soldiers in the collapse of a bridge during what is referred to as ""the War?"" Or are the events related to the apparent accident in which enemy POWs working the Carrick Mine were drowned? James Maxwell, a cub reporter from the Capital, assists Reeve Blair (a reeve is a police official) in his investigation. Maxwell finds patterns that lead him to utterly false but intriguing conclusions. (Nov.)
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