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The Violet Crow: A Bruno X Psychic Detective Mystery

Publisher: Liberty Island • 2015 • 312 pages

What do Jews, Quakers and biotech have in common? Jersey, of course, the setting for Michael Sheldon’s debut novel The Violet Crow. Private Detective Bruno X, a rough around the edges Yiddish trash talker with a sixth sense for murder, is called in to consult on an unsolved mystery at a small Quaker school in southern New Jersey. Peppered with its fair share of intrigue and romance, Crow plays in your head like a beautiful parody of a film noir, richly detailed in its hard boiled madness.

The refreshing aspect of Sheldon’s work is his ability to explore the nefarious results of politically correct thinking without ever getting political. Everything from GMO’s, to college philosophy, to the mainstream distrust of big business surfaces in Crow, weaving together an intriguing tale that never once reads as dry or preachy. Don’t be wary of Bruno’s telepathic powers, either. Far from the stuff of Mystic Meg, his Kabbalistic context adds a rich cultural flair that develops, not distracts, from Bruno’s distinctive character.

To be sure, Sheldon went out on a limb putting a psychic Jewish detective with a Borscht Belt sense of humor in the middle of a Quaker mystery in the Jersey pines. But the leap is refreshing and still quite believable. (Contrary to popular opinion, not all of us live in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.) The culture clash gives Sheldon’s characters the ability to play off of one another and develop naturally in the mind of the reader. Like walking into a bar, nothing is forced. This is Bruno’s party and you’re simply invited to play along.

Original review is from PJ Media.

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