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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Strawberry Sunday: A John Marshall Tanner Novel by Stephen Greenleaf | LibraryThing

Audiobook. I’ve been a huge fan of this series, and I’ve read all, now that I finished this one.  Probably not the best one to read last as I found it a bit off. I rarely mind an author who makes it clear where he stands on an issue, and my heart goes out to the strawberry workers who work extremely hard for a ridiculously small amount of money.  I get that, but Greenleaf hammers it home a bit too forcefully, I think.

Tanner is in the hospital after being shot in the final scene of the previous book in the series, Past Tense (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/510230642).  His recovery is paralleled by that of Rita Lombardi.  They become friends and Tanner is shocked when he hears of her death in the strawberry country of California.  He decides to investigate and find out why she was murdered.  

The weakest parts of the book are Tanner’s ruminations on strawberry farming and his relationship with Rita. The characters border on stereotypical: the big bad farm owner who can’t leave the last authoritarian century; his ne'er-do-well children, the small town cops in thrall to the big landowner, etc., etc. And Tanner’s investigation seems to consist mostly of conversations with the principals from which he draws erroneous conclusions, acting on them too swiftly. He stumbles a lot in this book, and not just with the investigation.  Too many loose ends, I fear.  Still, the better parts outnumber the weaker, so I enjoyed it.

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