Saturday, March 3, 2018

Book Review: 'The Crossing at Blaisdell Park' by Marta Tandori

Some books we read for information, instruction, inspiration, laughter, or health matters, yoga meditational teaching - as though every book we open must have a purpose. And then along comes Marta Tandori who pleasures us with good old-fashioned suspense thrillers whose sole purpose is to provide and escape from the shackles of making it through another day of responsibilities. And escape is the proper word when considering Marta's writing. She appears to have the plot line and the arch and dénouement down pat, but never for a moment does she allow the reader to lose concentration on the mystery she is painting.

A bit about this author: Marta Tandori began her studies in theater with acting classes ate the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and despite the fact that she deserted that line of endeavor in favor of a career in writing - the influence of the anxiety of performance, the reaction of the audience, the building of a character all the way to curtain call seem to inform her style of writing today. She began her writing career in workshops and in classes though the Institute of Children's Literature in Connecticut, published a number of fine children's and young adult books, and finally followed her passion for adult mystery suspense novels. And that is where her fame rests today, writing about `strong female protagonists with closets full of nasty skeletons and the odd murder or two to complicate their already complicated lives.' Marta created the Kate Stanton Mystery Series which has been very successful: this book is formally Book 4 of that series, with a nod to her magnificent LAST STOP KLINDENSPIEL - her full length prequel that explains Kate Stanton's beginnings.

If you haven't read the first books of the series, you should - but though the background is fascinating this book easily stands on its own. The synopsis is tight and worthy: `Thanks to the huge success of the year's blockbuster civil war epic film, The Crossing at Blaisdell Park, there's been a resurgence of interest in the former sixties musical duo, the Paisleys, and its only surviving member, Kate Stanton, who had recorded an interactive version of the duo's first hit single for the movie. With an initial worldwide gross of just under a billion dollars and a sequel already in production, it looks like the The Crossing - as it's been dubbed by the press - is going to go down in history as one of Hollywood's most successful film franchises - until tragedy strikes, that is. Just as Kate is about to unveil the Paisleys' long-awaited star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a stolen cargo van jumps the curb a few feet from where everyone is gathered, killing a woman dressed as Charlotte Valcour, the heroine in The Crossing. The tragedy follows a series of disastrous events which have overshadowed shooting of the sequel, fueling rumors that the shoot is being haunted by the ghost of the movie's dead heroine. Things become even more complicated when the director of the movie suddenly disappears during shooting of a pivotal battle scene. Kate soon realizes that Charlotte's ghost may not be the only thing they need to contend with as she finds herself dodging a killer intent on exposing the truth behind The Crossing at Blaisdell Park.'

Once you've experienced Marta's way with language, with character building, and with plot development there is no turning back. She knows how to scribe a thriller, scaring you one moment, bringing out a chuckle the next. Some have termed her books `Chick Lit' and while that is anything BUT a put-down, it does seem biased against men's interest in good books with strong female characters. Men will enjoy her books because they're so well written. This is another solid one from Marta Tandoori. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, May 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.