cover image Orion Rising

Orion Rising

Terence Faherty. Minotaur Books, $22.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-312-20351-1

The seventh in a series of moody, thoughtful and doggedly low-key mysteries finds amateur crime solver Owen Keene dealing with a puzzle from his past. The intellectually astute, if career-impaired, Keene was a college kid in Boston at the end of the 1960s. Now it's 1995, and his old college chum James Courtney Murray is an apparent murder victim. Murray was the prime suspect in the 1969 rape of Francine Knaff, a local nurse. Recent DNA tests point to Murray's guilt--but Keene was also a suspect in the rape, as was fellow collegian Harry Ohlman. Continual flashbacks detail Keene's college romance with Mary Fitzgerald, the girl Ohlman eventually won, rather than developing Murray's character, which remains enigmatic to the end. Keene has a lot of guilt to work through in this novel, and the narrative takes its sweet time getting to a resolution. Throughout, Faherty stresses characterization over mayhem. The identity of Murray's killer isn't a major revelation, but Faherty packs a lot of supplemental detail into the explanation of the crime--just the kind of emotional detritus that Owen Keene has made a career (of sorts) out of wallowing in. (July)