Dead Man's Hand (Anglais) Broché – 22 avril 2007
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When the townsfolk realize, courtesy of Connor's dog, Casper, that the ubiquitous wooden dummy hanging in front of the town's gold-mining shop has been exchanged for the body of Zander Nicholas, Connor's determined to get the scoop on this story. Questions and theories compel her to take a closer look at the fringe groups. Complicating Connor's life is the reappearance of her former boyfriend, Josh, newly widowed, and proposing marriage. For Connor, this is an unsettling issue because her current love, Dan, had also proposed recently. Afraid of losing her independence, she's avoided giving Dan an answer. With all the personal turmoil and quirky, not-so-friendly suspects milling about, it's no surprise that Penny Warner's DEAD MAN'S HAND is a fun and face-paced read.
Deaf protagonist, Connor, is an appealing character, and the main reason why I'll keep reading Connor's adventures. While she does take big risks to get answers, Connor's moxy is a large part of her personality, and this trait makes her unpredictable. Her fear about marriage provides an intriguing contradiction to her confidence in her professional life. I truly enjoy spending time with Connor Westphal, and look forward to her next adventure.
Unlike Kinsey Millhone however, Connor has let both a hearing-ear dog and a gorgeous private eye into her life. Over the years, I've come to look forward to Penny Warner's mysteries more than I do to Sue Grafton's. Connor seems to be heading toward a pleasant future while I'm afraid Kinsey's destined for a tragic end.
I have to admit, the mysteries in the Connor Westphal books are not what draws me in. In fact, if I read the books again I would not remember who killed who and why. I enjoy the descriptions of the Gold Country and its history, finding out how Connor copes in a hearing world, and the soap opera of her relationships.
I came across the first Connor Westphal book by chance, in the lobby of a hotel on a beach in Portugal. It was storming and there was nothing to do in a town that subsisted mainly on beach tourists. The bar was closed and the unpaved roads were muddy and led nowhere. My husband was sensibly fighting boredom by taking a long nap and I'd finished the books I'd brought. I wandered to the lobby, turned the TV on and started flipping channels when the Basil Fawlty-like hotel manager came in, turned the TV off and told me "It doesn't work." In spite of high-definition evidence to the contrary, I sighed and flopped into the chair. On the table was Dead Body Language, the first Connor Westphal mystery.
That book got me through the rest of the rainstorm. I figured my desperation had made me enjoy the book more than I would have in other circumstances, but after I got home I read the next one and the third and enjoyed them every bit as much as the first.
In Dead Man's Hand, as in the previous novels, I found the mystery less compelling than the controversies over cochlear implants, a planned deaf-only community, Indian casinos, and the sideshows of Connor, Dan, Josh, Caspar, and the rest of the Flat Skunk gang. (By the way, the cochlear implant debate is explored in an excellent and disturbing documentary called Sound and Fury.)
I am so glad that anonymous guest left her(?) Connor Westphal book. Thank goodness it wasn't a Tom Clancy novel.
The only reason there are only 4 stars is that the Kindle version has a few typos that are irritating.