Dieter’s arrival in the small town of Crooked River sets everyone’s tongues wagging. To the inhabitants of Crooked River, he is a mysterious stranger who zealously guards his secrets but lends a patient ear to everyone. Consequently, myriads of townspeople, such as the deckhands, the bartender, the hotel manager, the antique shop owner befriend him. Maggie, a beautiful woman, falls in love with him.
But there are also those who view him with suspicion, like the rich ladies who track his movements across the neighborhood from behind the curtains. There is also the local drug lord, Teddy Mink, who is convinced that Dieter is a narcotics agent. Dieter, indeed, has a past that threatens to overshadow his future with Maggie. Will this town leave Dieter alone for good? Can he forge a meaningful relationship with Maggie?
Set in 1978, Fever Tree by Tim Applegate is an engaging mystery tale that transfixed me till the end. Via vivid descriptions of people and scenery alike, Applegate transported me into the town of Crooked River. He uses every word aptly, hence, this novel doesn’t contain a single wasteful sentence. Although the pace of storytelling is languid, Applegate’s elegant writing kept the mystery alive. As a result, I wasn’t bored for even a second.
Moreover, he portrays the supporting cast of inherently flawed characters as efficiently as the protagonist. No character seemed unnecessary. Everyone played his (or her) part in enriching the story which flows smoothly.
However, the problem is that Applegate’s gorgeous writing outshines the plot. While the evocative descriptions enamored me, I couldn’t feel the punch in the gut. Further, the climax was so poetically described that it lost its unexpected quality. So, while the novel delivers on the mystery quotient, the story did not leave a deep impression on me. I continued reading because I loved Applegate’s writing and wanted to see the enigma unravel.
Fans of literary fiction who want a mystery weaved in with splendid writing can go for it. However, people seeking the thrill of a chase, or the sense of suspense from the word ‘go’ will not find this book stimulating.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Kindle Edition, 232 pages, Published on 4th December, 2018, by Amberjack Publishing