12 July 2011

Review: ASHES TO WATER (The Lake Trilogy), Irene Ziegler

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 597 KB
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Aston House; 1 edition (October 8, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0046LU73Y
  • Source: I bought it
Product description (Amazon)

Set in the 1980s, Ashes to Water is an atmospheric story of a small-town Florida murder and one young woman’s reluctant involvement in its resolution.

When Annie Bartlett returns home to bury her murdered father, she confronts the woman arrested for the crime, only to discover reasons to fight for the woman’s acquittal. This pits her against her erratic and unwell sister, Leigh, whose very survival may depend on a guilty verdict.

Annie soon becomes snarled in the social and political dynamics of the town, a wrenching attraction to her old boyfriend, and the emotionally difficult business of sorting out her estranged father’s tangled past. Obstructing Annie further are “visits” from her mother, who drowned in Widow Lake when Annie was nine.

As her attempts to solve her father’s murder lead to more bloodshed, Annie finds herself a suspect in a plot not of her making, and a threat to the town’s movers and shakers, suddenly very anxious to see her gone.

While it stands alone, Ashes to Water continues the story of Annie Bartlett, who grows up in Ziegler’s collection of linked short stories, Rules of the Lake.

My take

This is my contribution to Crime Fiction Alphabet, Letter Z

While as far as e-books go ASHES TO WATER is quite a long book, but it is compelling reading.

Annie Bartlett has been estranged from her father for some years, having never really forgiven him for the death of her mother. In the intervening period she has carried the memory of her mother with her, in a delusional way, to the point where she "sees" her mother and holds conversations with her.
    “Since you were nine years old I’ve been whispering in your ear, showing you the truth, lighting your way.”

Annie has also become a successful photographer and is about to get married.

She returns to her hometown when her father is murdered and is met at the airport by her ex-boyfriend, Pete, who is acting as defence lawyer for the woman accused of murdering Annie's father. Annie decides she must meet Della, the accused, and is shocked to find that Della is a double for her dead mother. Della protests her innocence and asks Annie to help her prove her case. Annie feels that Pete is not acting as a defence lawyer should as he advises Della to plead guilty so her case will not go to trial.

This is the main story supported by a host of sub-plots: an arsonist is burning new homes that are being built on land in the forest; the main suspect for the arson is a Downs syndrome lad who is the son of the local judge; Annie's older sister Leigh a drug addict who had asked her father to help her; and a range of other interesting characters including a Seminole Indian who wants to help his people survive by building houses for them and setting up a casino for them to run.

I remain puzzled by the title ASHES TO WATER (The Lake Trilogy). I understand the ASHES TO WATER bit but not "The Lake Trilogy". Irene's website tells me that RULES OF THE LAKE, a collection of linked short stories, is the pre-quel to ASHES TO WATER. It focuses on Annie Bartlett growing up and is semi-autobiographical.

My rating: 4.3

Read the Prologue on the author's website.
Irene Ziegler says ASHES TO WATER "is a mystery/thriller,  my eighth book and first novel."


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Interesting choice for "Z," and well done hosting another successful alphabet run :=). Your choice sounds like it's got some fascinating characters and sub-plots, too. Thanks for sharing.

Irene Ziegler said...

I'm glad you enjoyed ASHES TO WATER! I'm honored you chose it to review. The third novel of the lake trilogy is underway. It is called THE FACE OF THE DEEP. At least, that's what it's called today. So technically, I guess I don't have a trilogy yet. But I'm working on it. Thanks, again! Best wishes to you and your important work. Irene Ziegler www.ireneziegler.com

Yvette said...

Kerrie, don't you love it when an author posts a comment on your blog? It'a always a good feeling.
This book sounds intriguing. Although I've sworn off reading from a screen. I've done it a couple of times and I just don't like it.

Thanks again for hosting the Crime Fiction Alphabet, you did a great job. it was fun.


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