The Sun Is God
Review: Ex-British military officer Will Prior, living in self-imposed exile in Deutsch New Guinea just after the turn of the 20th century, is asked by the Colonial German authorities to assist with a potential homicide investigation, in The Sun Is God, a stand-alone crime novel by Adrian McKinty.
The dead man, Max Lutzow, was a member of a group of naturists, who lived on the remote island of Kabakon. Though the others on the island insist he died of malaria, an autopsy reveals water in his lungs. He could have simply collapsed from fatigue or illness and accidentally drowned, or — and this is what the authorities want to determine — he could have been murdered. If so, who killed him … and why? Accompanying Prior to the island is a German officer, Klaus Kessler, and a young woman, Bessie Pullen-Burry, who is tasked with recording all that they learn. Once there, Prior begins his investigation, and the more he learns, the more he believes Lutzow was killed by his fellow cultists, and that his own life, and those of his colleagues, may also be in danger.
The individual elements to this murder mystery based on a true story are intriguing. Will Prior is a well-drawn, engaging character, who carries around a little too much baggage from his time in South Africa but it is rarely intrusive. He would clearly make for a terrific series lead, if the author elected to bring him back in a subsequent story. His partner, Kessler, though not quite as fully developed, definitely has potential as a side-kick. And the time and place are unusual, with vivid descriptions of the very basic living conditions under which these people existed. But what really doesn't work is storyline itself, which, like the cast of characters being investigated, lacks dimension and isn't all that interesting or compelling. And there is nothing invested in the dead man or how he died to make him worth caring about. According to an Afterword by the author, only the characters of Prior and Kessler are fictional; all the rest existed in real life. The investigation into the mysterious deaths of two people on Kabakon was inconclusive, though for the purposes of this book, there is some closure.
Acknowledgment: Seventh Street Books provided an ARC of The Sun Is God for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
In the Morning I'll Be Gone
Seventh Street Books (Trade Paperback), March 2014
ISBN-13: 9781616148775; ISBN-10: 1616148772
Gun Street Girl
Seventh Street Books (Trade Paperback), March 2015
ISBN-13: 9781633880009; ISBN-10: 1633880001
Location(s) referenced in The Sun Is God: German New Guinea
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The Sun Is God by Adrian McKinty
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: September 2014
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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