Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pg. 99: Cornelia Read's "A Field of Darkness"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: Cornelia Read's A Field of Darkness.

About the book, from the author's website:
Closet debutante and fledgling journalist Madeline Dare would be the first to tell you her money's so old there's none left. The summer of 1988 finds her in brokedown upstate New York and desperate to achieve escape velocity. When a set of dog tags turns up at the scene of a decades-unsolved double murder, she may have found that longed-for ticket out of town.

Downside: the name on the tags is that of her favorite Oyster Bay cousin, scion of a vindictive and still-powerful branch of the family. Maddie's investigation triggers a string of grisly new murders, and the trail of blue blood leads right to her do
Among the praise for A Field of Darkness:
"Read's sensational debut features spot-on descriptions of upstate-downstate conflicts, strong characterizations and a fascinating plot."
Kirkus (starred review)

"Every page is a pleasure in this mystery debut featuring barb-wielding, ex-debutante Madeline Dare... Read's plot crackles and pops, but her characters steal the show. Among them: a shifty-eyed silhouettist, a lustful livestock auctioneer, and in-laws who make the cast of Deliverance seem urbane. Madeline's own parents are irrepressible, too. "Mealtime conversation," writes Read, "was like watching Fellini and Wodehouse drop acid." This is sure to be loved by fans of comic mysteries, but don't be surprised if Tom Wolfe readers are equally smitten by Read's venomously witty portrait of a fallen WASP."
Booklist (starred review)

"Cornelia Read is a dazzling new voice who clearly has a very old soul. A Field of Darkness is written with such assurance and style that it's hard to believe it's her publishing debut. Intense, creepy and wonderfully erudite."
—Laura Lippman, author of To the Power of Three

"Completely captivating — wry, knowing, hip, intelligent, exciting. A brand new voice that's entirely convincing straight out of the gate. One of the best debuts I've ever seen."
—Lee Child, NY Times bestselling author of One Shot

"You're going to hear a lot about Cornelia Read because she's the real thing. One does not often see such expert wordsmithing in a debut novel, but Read handles prose like a seasoned veteran. It's hard to believe this is her first novel but very easy to believe it won't be her last."
—Victor Gischler, author of Gun Monkeys and Suicide Squeeze

"Cornelia Read's debut mystery is as addictive as funnel cakes and skeeball, with all the twists, turns, and terrors of the Funhouse. Tough-talking yet vulnerable heroine Madeline Dare uncovers a 20-year-old murder at the New York State Fair with bravado and sensitivity. Evocative, gripping, and impossible toput down, A Field of Darkness isn't just a winner — it's a 'Grand Champion.'"
—Martha O'Connor, author of The Bitch Posse

"Cornelia Read's debut is a marvel. She has a keen eye for detail; her observations are so sharp they draw blood. This is a terrific book."
—Ayelet Waldman, author of Love and Other Impossible Pursuits
A Field of Darkness earned nominations for the Edgar, RT Book Club Critics Choice, Gumshoe, Audie, Macavity, and Barry awards for best debut novel.

Read Chapter One of A Field of Darkness at Cornelia Read's website.

The Page 99 Test: A Field of Darkness.

--Marshal Zeringue