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Mara Purl's second novel takes readers from the frying pan to the fire.
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Review by Joyce Seed
It doesn't hurt that there's a built-in audience from her hit radio series Milford-Haven, U.S.A. which had four and a half million listeners on the BBC. It also
doesn't hurt that the Milford-Haven web site (www.milfordhaven.com) is hosted by the Family Internet which brings 1.5 million hits a week. And if you like
broadcasting museums shops, all the major ones carry the Milford- Haven audio tapes.
Purl uses environmental issues as the undertow in her complex cross-referenced stories which roll over each other like so many waves. Just when the water
seems calm, the tide comes in bringing with it the detritis of buried secrets and hopes which float to the surface like long-forgotten messages in bottles.
Samantha Hugo as head of the Environmental Planning Commission faces off with corrupt builder Jack Sawyer - but he's also her ex-husband; Zackery
Calvin falls in love with wildlife painter Miranda Jones - but he works for an oil company. Chris Christian has gone missing while pursuing a story about the
corporate ownership of a house under construction - but the CEO has ties to oil interests.
Purl is adept at conveying vivid images of her California coastal setting, and also shows a special gift for vernacular expression, - transplanted Arkansian
Sally O'Mally's homespun lingo flies off her tougue faster than the grits fly off her skillet.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the novels turns out to be the journal entries, which so far have ended each book. The fast paced language of the main
text gives way to deeply reflective soul-searching, replete with metaphor and observation. Indeed the title of each novel becomes the theme for each diary
segment, a kind of expansively explored poetic icon which illuminates the preceeding text, and foreshadows the next novel in the series.
If you're searching for what to read next, and want a combination of escapism and thought-provoking prose, your answer is Closer Than You Think.