Behind the Redwood Door: A Guy Mallon Mystery

John M. Daniel. Oak Tree, $14.95 trade paper (250p) ISBN 978-1-61009-023-0
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Set in 1999, Daniel’s undistinguished third Guy Mallon mystery (after 2006’s Vanity Fire) finds the former book publisher and his wife, Carol, who used to live in Santa Barbara, settled in Jefferson City on the northern California coast. At 57, Guy is “largely unemployed,” apart from helping out at Carol’s bookstore, until River Webster, the owner of the liberal weekly Jefferson Nickel, asks him to step in as the newspaper’s new editor after the previous editor’s murder. Guy is determined to avoid a fight with powerful businessman Seamus Connolly, who owns the conservative daily Jefferson Republican. Unfortunately for Guy, the conflict between the Connolly clan and the Websters, which goes back decades, is too deep to ignore. Three interludes provide an interesting capsule history of immigrant fortunes, Indian displacement, and commercial enterprises from gold mining to marijuana harvests, but these aren’t enough to lift a mediocre story. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/2011
Release date: 11/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
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