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Book Review - "The Girl in the Glass" by James Hayman

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category in the right sidebar.

9780062435163_p0_v3_s192x300The Girl In The Glass by James Hayman is a mystery based on two time periods. These copycat murders take place in 1904 and 2012, creating an intriguing premise. The crimes are identical in every way with a time span of 108 years.

Because the book delves into the rich society, Hayman hopes the readers “understand this sense of privilege.  The attitude being, ‘whatever I want I can have, no matter who it hurts.’ Fitzgerald said, ‘The very rich is very different than you and I,’ and Hemingway joked about that statement, ‘yeah, they have more money.’ My modern day character is the ultimate bad rich girl who uses brains and beauty to get what she wants.”

The plot has two women stabbed to death, about a century apart, on the same remote island near Maine’s coastline, left for dead with the letter “A” carved into their chest.  Detectives Mike McCabe and Maggie Savage are assigned to bring the modern day killer quickly to justice. But the key to solving the murder appears to have been buried with her ancestor who was killed in a similar manner. Readers might think of the legendary novel, The Scarlett Letter, where a woman found guilty of adultery had an “A” pinned to her clothing.  However, that is where the similarities stop.  With this book, the cases have a number of suspects, each with their own motives. These two stories include a lot of broken marriages, complex families, and parental love where jealousy and sibling rivalry are the norm.

Hayman commented to, “McCabe is my alter ego.  We are both New Yorkers, city guys with our women talented artists.  We both have daughters who we love. We share the same values.  When I write him it is as if I am putting myself into whatever position he is in.  Anyone who has read all the books would know me very well if they understand the McCabe character. The people I spend the most time with are my imaginary friends.”

As with most of Hayman’s books he is able to masterfully portray the misty, coastal atmosphere of Maine.  The islands are described in such a way the readers can close their eyes and feel they are transported there with the rocky high cliffs surrounded by rough seas that have dangerous shorelines.  The Maine coast and Portland in particular with its maritime history provide a unique backdrop for a book like The Girl in the Glass. Hayman regards Portland Maine as “the perfect setting for a suspense thriller series.  It is a hip little city with a police department big enough to have specialties; yet, small enough so they know each other and can interact together.”

This latest McCabe/Savage thriller has a great setting and characters.  The setting blends into the mystery perfectly.