Wednesday, November 25, 2015


SLEEP OF REASON by Rose Beecham (Bold Stroke Books, 2006)

Reviewed by Megan Casey

When a small boy is kidnapped from his home, most of Montezuma County turns out for the search. But nothing is as it seems with this case, and Detective Jude Devine soon finds herself caught up in a small-town soap opera whose players seem more interested in their 15 minutes of fame than in the fate of little Corban.

The second book in the Jude Devine series is a worthy successor to the first. Maybe more so, as author Rose Beecham doesn't have Fundamentalist Mormon sects to bash. Instead, she sets her sights on child abuse. A two-year-old boy goes missing from his home while the mother is out and her boyfriend babysits. Everyone in the book—and every reader—knows that the boyfriend is responsible, but he is somehow able to pile lie on top of lie to wiggle out of every inconsistency in his story.

The book reminds me more than a little of Katherine V. Forrest’s Murder by Tradition, where the murderer keeps changing his story every few minutes without actually convicting himself. Another comparison is that it is partly a courtroom drama, where the story plays out in the man’s trial, although with a much different conclusion. Beecham's style is not dissimilar to Forrest's and their protagonists are similarly aloof.

Jude’s relationship with Dr. Mercy Westmoreland goes way south when the good doctor decides to marry her English movie-star lover in a large, well-publicized ceremony (I wonder what happened to Mercy’s fear of being outed in the small Colorado town where she still works?). I never thought they were particularly well suited anyway. The good news is that Chastity Young—a character from the first book—drives back into Jude’s life and wins her heart. Her difficulty with sex will undoubtedly be brought out further in the next book in the series.

Another subplot here is the relationship between two new characters, Brenda and Lonewolf. Lone, unbeknownst to Brenda, is planning to assassinate Dick Cheney for helping move the U.S. into an unreasonable war--one that ultimately cost the life of Lone's previous lover. Jude suspects Lone of plotting something, but she isn't sure what. We'll undoubtedly find out next time.

As in the first book, there is a lot in the actual plot that doesn't actually make sense, but as I keep saying, we tend to overlook all but the more major plot glitches with the writing is good and the characters interesting. As they are in Sleep of Reason.

Megan Casey is an avid booklover from Billings, Montana. Born in Canada and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Megan studied English literature and library management, and has worked as a book editor and librarian. She moderates the "Lesbian Mysteries" group onGood Reads, and created the website The Art of the Lesbian Mystery Novel

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