cover image The Gardener of Eden

The Gardener of Eden

David Downie. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-64313-004-0

A mysterious stranger camps out in the parking lot by the Eden Seaside Resort & Cottages in this so-so crime novel from Downie (City of Night), set in the scenic but seen-better-days Pacific Northwest community of Carverville. Initially, no one knows what to make of the curious senior, James, who boasts the wild hair of a homeless prophet along with a spanking new RV and even more pristine speech. As motel owner Beverley gradually susses out, the newcomer is no stranger but a native son and now widowed former judge, who has returned after 40 years for reasons that have something to do with his never-forgotten first love, Maggie. Tension mounts as James attempts to discreetly investigate what became of his flame while the authorities, tracking his every move, try to strong-arm him into leaving before he figures out some of their truly horrific secrets. As intriguing as the quixotic James is, Downie gets sidetracked with cartoonish supporting characters, including the logorrheic Beverley, as well as plot surprises that prove anything but. Fans of the author’s food and travel books may best appreciate this one. [em]Agent: Alice Martell, Martell Agency. (Mar.) [/em]