The Music of What Happens by John Straley

I’m a big fan of Tony Hillerman’s work so I was immediately drawn to this book when I found it laying around in my Mom’s house. The cover is appealing because of all the Pacific Northwest clan totems.

MusicTitle:  The Music of What Happens
Author:  John Straley
SeriesCecil Younger Book 03
Publish Date:  February 3, 1997
Genre:  Mystery
Source: Borrowed

Publisher’s DescriptionA defense investigator working out of Sitka, in the Alaskan coastal archipelago, Cecil Younger walks a narrow line between the truth and what his clients pay him to find… The Music of What Happens.

Younger’s got the child custody case from hell, and a client to match. Shrill, confrontational, and obsessed, Priscilla DeAngelo is sure her ex is conspiring with a state senator to wrest her son from her. When she storms off to Juneau for a showdown, Younger’s custody case swiftly turns into a murder. Fired from her defense team, Younger stays with the investigation. He’s not sure what keeps him bulldogging the case—Priscilla’s sister, his lost love; his regard for truth as a rare commodity; or the head injury Priscilla’s ex gave him—but he won’t let go until it’s solved.

But this time, the truth is less likely to set him free than to get him killed…

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Agent_Annie_100Agent Annie says…

This is 3rd in a series so there would have been more introduction to the main character in those first two novels. When I started the novel, I felt a bit out of the loop because there were references that weren’t completely clear. However, since the narrator isn’t terribly reliable (lot’s of drug induced memory loss and muddled thinking), it may have been written this way on purpose. It was fast paced and the rest of the characters were well written. I especially liked Harrison Teller since he was so outlandish. The mystery itself wasn’t as neat as I prefer. I felt the author wrapped things up too easily and used information outside of what the narrator knew that would have made it impossible for the reader to learn things to help resolve the mystery.

badge3v4I liked this book because it had a different setting than most mysteries I’ve read. There isn’t much out there that takes place in Alaska. The culture of Alaska is described in a way that makes the book very interesting and the main character spends a lot of time paying attention to the messages that different birds and animals give him: Crow plays a large part in guiding him and laughing when he makes a mistake. Native American culture has a much stronger connection to the animal world than mainstream America which is what makes this book entertaining. I give it a 3.5.

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…you might try books by Tony Hillerman or W. Michael and Kathleen O’Neil Gear.

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About Agent Annie

I am a former Independent bookstore owner that created a 30 books in 30 minutes presentation for book clubs, libraries and avid reader groups. I specialize in short reviews that focus on plot, theme and discussion topics. I primarily read mystery/thriller, who-done-its and sci-fi/fantasy. I love stories in any format and will listen to an audio book as quickly as I would read a paper or digital version. I prefer books that make you think, don't have a predictable ending and tend to have some aspect that is outside the current norm. I tend to enjoy series once I am hooked on the main characters and the world and am very loyal. Some of the books I've enjoyed in the past are: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear, The Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne & Todd McCaffrey and The Sherlockian Graham Moore. I will also read ANYTHING by Stephen King. As a matter of fact, I wrote a graduate level paper on the leadership styles in The Stand. I will accept review requests.

Posted on April 11, 2016, in 3-Okay, Agent Annie, Mystery, Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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