November Rain by Donald Harstad

November Rain by Donald Harstad
Publisher: Crooked Lane
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (306 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

Carl Houseman, the deputy sheriff of rural Nation County, Iowa, leaves home to enter the world of international intrigue in the sixth in Donald Harstad’s critically acclaimed series.

Houseman’s daughter, Jane, has been studying abroad in the UK. When her best friend Emma Schiller has been kidnapped, Houseman, desperate to protect his daughter and help her friend, accepts Scotland Yard’s invitation to take him on as a consultant.

Emma’s trail leads to the door of her former professor–and ex-lover–Dr. Robert Northwood, whose impassioned activism on behalf of a pair of Muslim political prisoners has landed him unwittingly in cahoots with a cadre of dangerous individuals. It seems like a simple hoax, except that if Houseman doesn’t track down the professor’s co-conspirators, the consequences will be anything but simple–and the harm that will result could be global in Harstad’s gripping new installment in his outstanding series.

November Rain is the sixth book by the author that features his sleuth, Carl Houseman who’s a deputy sheriff in Iowa. I hadn’t read any of the other books and was somewhat worried I wouldn’t get caught up to speed on the character well enough to enjoy this story. However, that wasn’t the case. Within one chapter I felt like I knew who Carl was. The author does a great job giving insight into his personality. I knew that he loves his job, takes it seriously, and sometimes says things that made me laugh. I really enjoyed the opening scene where it seems Carl will do anything to wrangle his way out of taking the assignment in London.

Lucky for the reader, his superior won’t take no for an answer. Carl heads to the UK and is thrown into a situation that becomes larger than life. It’s a sort of fish out a water scenario which I think made it a fun read. I thought all the scenes featuring Carl were great but when he wasn’t on the scene, it sort of switched to a narrator that I felt put some distance between me and the person whose head I was in, and was my only dislike of the book.

It’s a fast paced tale and has twist and turns and a story that’s very relevant to today’s unsettled world. Mr. Harstad did a great job creating characters who found themselves suddenly caught up in trouble they hadn’t seen coming which gave it a page turning quality.

If you’re a fan of small town mysteries that combine themes from today’s headlines then I think this one would be ideal for your fall reading.

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