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Threads of Malice by Tamara Siler Jones
Review by Gayle Surrette
Spectra Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 0553587102
Date: 25 October, 2005 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Dubric knows The Reach, he fought there in the magic wars when the Mages were being killed for their oppression and the demented and horrific treatment of the people. The wars have been over for years and Byerly killed the worst of the lot, Foiche, freeing The Reach from his tyranny. When Dubric enters The Reach he begins to hear stories that make him think of Foiche and then he meets the ghosts; over twenty of them, clambering for justice. They have all been extensively tortured and abused and then murdered. All the ghosts are of young, slim boys and men. No women are among them. Dubric begins his investigation with Otlee as his assistant and gets little help from the Lord of the land or the other men in high places.

Dien and Lars move on to Dien's wife's family's home as the center of their part of the investigations. Dien's father in law is seemly insane but as the investigation goes on it begins to look like not all his babble is insanity. When Dubric visits the farm Lars begins to note that maybe there is a range to Dubric's ghosts and that might be clue to finding the killer or killers. There are enough suspects and suspicious people to keep Dubric and his men feeling like they are tilting at windmills. The mystery keeps you guessing until the final pages because the clues are laid spare but clear and with each new one the suspect list reshuffles.

Much of the story rest on some back filling of Dubric's past. We learn more of his wife and his actions in the magic wars. We learn more about the world and the kingdom of Faldorrah -- that leaves the reader with more questions than answers. Dubric must face his past and his actions to solve these crimes for they have been years in the making--and all to return a madman to power.

This is definitely not a book for the faint of heart. While descriptions are crisp and non-voyeuristic they can give a person with an active imagination nightmares and a vile taste in the back of the throat. I think the worst part is knowing that people do indeed do these things to each other and that other people look away. There's the mystery and the story and there's also the growth and change in the characters we met in the first book. No one will be the same after this story -- not the characters and certainly not the reader.

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