blog of author Marilyn Meredith. I don't know Marilyn personally, but through her open, honest posts about both her writing career and her family, I sometimes feel as I must know her personally, at least a little. Marilyn is a prolific author who has published with more than one small press and in more than one genre. She somehow maintains two active, successful mystery series while still dabbling in other writing projects, managing a hectic promotional schedule, and maintaining a terrific relationship with her husband and family. Through all that, she smiles because she loves what she does. That's the reason I've been following Marilyn's blog: her attitude and approach are what I aspire for myself.
When offered the opportunity to review The Invisible Path as part of her promotional blog tour, I was excited at the opportunity to participate, but also nervous. The only things I'd read from Marilyn were excerpts, and while I certainly enjoyed those excerpts I wasn't sure what to expect. The Invisible Path is the latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, a series which has won awards and garnered accolades, so I was confident that I wouldn't have to suffer the dilemma of reviewing a book I didn't care for written by an author I respect so much. Yet, I was still nervous as I dove into the first page, not really knowing what to expect.
It's this sense of social drama that most strongly characterizes Marilyn Meredith's book. The dramatic tension in the story is that between reservation Indians and outsiders, whether they're white or Indian; and between militia fanatics and people from outside their area, and outside their white culture. Nestled inside that tense tapestry, is the murder mystery of a young Indiana man out to make a name and a fortune -- a murder that everyone seems to want pinned on Jesus Running Bear, even without any clear evidence against him.
What makes the writing special the way in which Marilyn Meredith handles the characters. This is no literary novel; her touch is light and gentle. And, yet, there is a simple honesty in the way characters are portrayed without judgment of framing preconceptions that is almost shockingly matter-of-fact. In one breath, we have characters spouting racist remarks, and that's just the way they are. In the next, we have Indians following their traditional beliefs, and that's just they way they are. In the next, we have Deputy Crabtree's husband, a Christian pastor, praying for her, and that's just the way he is. The characters in Invisible Path may not have their psychological scars revealed and explored, but they are allowed to be themselves with no pretense and no restraint. That's what I found remarkable about this entertaining novel.
I was lucky enough to receive a promotional copy of the book for review, though I assure you my words are my own and I received no pressure to deliver any particular message about the book or even to give it a thumbs-up (though I do!). You can buy your own copy on Amazon.com or on the author's website, where it is available in print copy, eBook, or Kindle formats.