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by Charles Todd
William Morrow, December 2008
336 pages
ISBN: 0061233560

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Ian Rutledge is a troubled man trying to exorcize ghosts from his past, but not having much luck at it. He suffers from shell shock from the First World War and is haunted by a soldier under his command whom he was forced to execute. Now Hamish MacLeod is Rutledge's burden and doesn't let him forget it. They both work together solving crimes, with MacLeod serving as a sounding board and providing insights that Rutledge might miss. His help will be crucial. This particular case will affect Rutledge more deeply than expects.

The British War Office has assigned Rutledge to find a missing soldier but given him little information about his identity or his role in the war. The man is an enigma and someone the government is desperate to find. His work was important for the war effort and probably top secret.

The search takes Rutledge to Berkshire where he encounters a small village filled with outcasts, all of them with something to hide. They are distrustful of everyone and Rutledge feels drawn to the village as a place where he could go to escape from his memories and his guilt. However, the reality is that he has got a job to do and he will do it regardless of what his superiors say. He can't get off that easily.

The mother-and-son team of Charles Todd write a good historical mystery with a supernatural twist that still sounds reasonably credible. A PALE HORSE is not meant to be a quick read, but one to read it slowly for full effect. It has vivid landscapes, credible characters, and a troubling multi-dimensional story that compels the reader's attention. This is a good book, but not one that should be taken lightly. Readers new to this series might feel a bit reluctant to undertake a book of this kind, but it is definitely worth the effort.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, February 2008

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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