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by Jan Brogan
Mysterious Press, April 2005
336 pages
ISBN: 0892960078

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Hallie Ahern had a big future as a reporter in Boston, but when a story went sour, she left Boston and headed for Rhode Island. There seem to be few big stories to get involved in, until she witnesses a murder in the local supermarket. The police think that a robbery went wrong, but Hallie is not so sure. When she discovers that the victim was a heavy gambler, she finds that her own life is soon in danger too.

The choice of gambling as a theme is very interesting, given the discussions on gambling in America. Many people see gambling as a dangerous addiction and indeed, casinos are heavily regulated in countries such as the USA and UK. The worries of some Rhode Islanders at the thought of gambling becoming widespread are understandable, since these ideas have recently been echoed in the UK, with the government's proposed legislations to allow larger casinos to operate across the country.

A CONFIDENTIAL SOURCE is a good read, although the denouement is somewhat disappointing. Whilst the reason behind the murder comes as a surprise, the identity of the perpetrator will be apparent to those with a good knowledge of mysteries. The denouement, involving a chase through the streets of Providence and a kidnapping, seem oddly out of place and do not seem to gel with the rest of the novel. If a woman were complaining of being chased by a man, surely someone would help?

Brogan's characters are very pleasant. Hallie appears spunky, with a fire that she will not allow to be extinguished, despite the obstacles that she faces. Brogan also creates interesting characters in talk show host Leonard and prosecutor Matt. The interaction between the characters works well, particularly as the story is told in a first person narrative. We get to really understand how Hallie's head works.

I feel certain that this is not going to be the only book to feature Hallie Ahern. Brogan seems to have depths of talent to be plumbed and I look forward to her next offering. Despite the slightly weak ending, A CONFIDENTIAL SOURCE is a very good read.

Reviewed by Luke Croll, April 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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