The Dark End of Town

Julia Pomeroy, Author . Carroll & Graf $23.95 (279p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1720-0

Overused plot points and underdeveloped characters mar Pomeroy's uneven debut, a contemporary mystery set in Bantam, N.Y., a small town with an alarmingly high body count. Amateur sleuths, unless they want irritated readers to yell at them, need a legitimate reason for poking into things, and they need to proceed sensibly. Abby Silvernale, a widowed 30-something waitress who works at a friend's restaurant, fails both tests. Readers don't learn enough about her to find convincing her willingness to hide in the shrubbery all night or to follow a suspected murderer on impulse. Abby's reluctance to involve the police endangers herself and others. Trapped in the restaurant kitchen with a psychopathic killer, she relies on the familiar device of keeping him talking in the hope help will soon arrive. Overall, the story feels fragmented and unfocused, and Abby isn't a strong enough protagonist to hold the scattered pieces together. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/27/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
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Paperback - 279 pages - 978-0-7867-1924-2
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