Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Book Review: City of Saints by Andrew Hunt

Title: City of Saints: A Mystery
Author: Andrew Hunt
This book would be rated: PG-13 for language, adult situations
Source: Personal Copy
Enjoyment Rating: ****

A few weeks ago, Ed came up to our bedroom and said, "I can't believe it. Mike Crapo was arrested for drunk driving." For those of you who aren't political junkies like my husband, Mike Crapo is a US Senator from Idaho. A Mormon US Senator from Idaho. A former bishop. A stand-up kind of guy. I don't presume to know what led up to Crapo's arrest or what kind of guy he really is, but I was reading City of Saints at the same time I heard about Crapo's arrest, and I couldn't help but see parallels between these events in our day in the events in the novel. City of Saints takes places in the 1930s in Salt Lake City, and opens with the gruesome murder of a doctor's young wife. Art Oveson, working with the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, is put on the case. Oveson is just the kind of guy you would expect to find in Salt Lake City in the 1920s-- he's a returned missionary, married within a year of arriving home from his two years in Southern California, father of two children. But Oveson soon learns that the other men of the city-- the prominent lawyer friend of the doctor, the head of the sheriff's office, and pretty much everyone else in town, has blood on their hands.

City of Saints was an entertaining, enjoyable read. Oveson's voice was perfect for a small-town hick, but it didn't feel comical or contrived. As I've read mysteries about LDS characters for the Whitney Awards for the last few years, I've noticed that authors seem to be reluctant to make the bad guys in their books Mormon, but Andrew Hunt doesn't seem to have that same fear, and I'm glad for it. Salt Lake is a pretty great place to live, but I know it isn't perfect, and neither are the people who live here. The book is based on a series of actual unsolved murders that took place in the city at the same time, and Hunt took his time with the historical details to give the piece the perfect feel of the period.


Luisa Perkins said...

I look forward to reading this one. I hope it makes the finals.

ellen said...

Sounds like a good read.