Local author’s novel gets “stellar” review

by Roy E. Perry

Set in Waterville, Maine, Lucy’s in the Neighborhood, by David M. Carew, is an intriguing and stellar whodunit—a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Miss Lucy Bouchier is the owner and proprietor of Lucy’s in the Neighborhood, a popular corner market, in Waterville. The corner market is near the Two-Cent Bridge, and there Lucy specializes in serving up tasty Italian sandwiches, pizza, and whoopie pies. At age 64, Lucy is the star of the show. Specializing in her own zany brand of humor and with a loving heart as big as the State of Maine, she passes the downtime in her store by sharing stories from her past with her best friend and coworker, Jasmine. One day Lucy launches into the true story of a horrendous crime from 1972.

The story centers around the assault of a pretty teenager, 17-year-old Katherine Ambers, and her death two weeks after the assault. Investigating the case is Detective Ed O’Shaughnessy. Before her death, the only clue that Katherine is able to give O’Shaughnessy is that the assailant kept saying “animal” and “cracker” or “animal cracker.”

O’Shaughnessy has two “quasi”-suspects or “persons of interest” who may have committed the crime: a white racist named O’Casey (a supporter of George Wallace for President) and an alcoholic Black man named Curtis Jackson, the father of Mo (“Slo-Mo”) Jackson, a great friend of William Brady, a fellow teenager and Lucy’s boyfriend. The most obvious suspect is O’Casey, but why is Curtis Jackson so eager to “get the heck out of Dodge”—that is, leave Waterville—before Mo’s school term is over?

Detective O’Shaughnessy is indefatigable in his pursuit of the murderer, but time passes and the case becomes cold. But then Mr. Carew adroitly employs a literary device known as deus ex machina, which provides the identity of the criminal. But still: Will there ever be justice for Katherine Ambers?

Lucy’s in the Neighborhood is a tantalizing work of art and a fascinating study of the interaction of colorful characters. Featuring superb dialogue, it is an engaging, entertaining, intelligent look at the human condition. Lucy’s in the Neighborhood may be ordered online at Maine Authors Publishing or Amazon.

Roy E. Perry wrote book reviews for The Tennessean and Nashville Banner for more than 30 years.


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