A County Clare Mystery
Muskrat Press, March 2014
From the publisher—
Kilmoon is a gripping mystery set in an Irish village famous for its matchmaking festival. Californian Merrit Chase travels to Ireland to meet her father, a celebrated matchmaker, in hopes that she can mend her troubled past. Instead, her arrival triggers a rising tide of violence, and Merrit finds herself both suspect and victim, accomplice and pawn, in a manipulative game that began thirty years previously. When she discovers that the matchmaker’s treacherous past is at the heart of the chaos, she must decide how far she will go to save him from himself-and to get what she wants, a family.
Two things first attracted me to Kilmoon—(1) I love Ireland and hope very much to go back some day but books will have to do until then and (2) I’m fond of the Janeane Garofalo movie, “The Matchmaker” which just happens to be about a matchmaking festival in Ireland. Kilmoon was going to give me both so how could I go wrong?
LOL, we don’t always get what we wish for, do we? I knew, of course, that this wasn’t going to be a lighthearted romance but, really, the only points of comparison are the setting in Ireland and the matchmaking festival. Ah, well, I’m still glad I took a chance on this book. It wasn’t easy in the beginning but I pushed on and was soon engaged in the story.
To be honest, I came close to putting this down in the early chapters because the characters just weren’t appealing to me. They were mostly self-absorbed unpleasant people, all with their own agendas that cared little for the effect their actions would have on others. I pushed on, though, and I’m glad I did. At the end, I still didn’t care much for the main players, including Merrit, but the look into how secrets and choices can have such profound consequences even many years later was well worth the read and, in fact, some of the residents of Lisfenora grew on me after all.
Kirkus refers to this book as a “moody debut” and that’s a perfect description. Ms. Alber has crafted a story that is neither plot-driven nor character-driven but, rather, builds on atmosphere and makes good use of the melancholy that can be found in Ireland beneath the happy-go-lucky charm we also expect. Along the way, the reader is also served a good bit of murder and mayhem and now I wonder, what lies in store for us next in County Clare? I can only hope Ms. Alber won’t make us wait too long to find out.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2014.