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5+ stars for The Swim: A McLaren Crossed Paths Prequel by Jo A. Hiestand #britishliterature #literaryfiction #bookreview #newrelease

Title: The Swim: A McLaren Crossed Paths Prequel

Author: Jo A. Hiestand

Genre: Literary Fiction, Fiction


Book Blurb:


The Swim is not one of my usual mysteries featuring former police detective Michael McLaren. It's a prequel novella giving a picture of his life from teenager to the strong man he is today. He's real to me, and I want you to understand him. I want you to understand a man whose need to help others find justice became his incitement in a world like today. He's been through a lot from his ordeal beginning with the "swim", his move from the Force, and his cold cases. He's made enemies, friends, and he has loved and lost. Like many of us.


My Review:


Can one traumatic event in his teens forge a path for Michael McLaren? The Swim is a prequel to the Michael McLaren Mysteries. As one of my favorite British detectives, I’ve always wondered what McLaren was like as a boy. I’ve been curious why he chose to become a police detective and what makes him tick. There’s a drive in Michael McLaren and also a slight fear for anyone to get close to him. It all makes sense now, after reading The Swim.


Let’s start with the writing. Jo A. Hiestand writes British mysteries and has written almost twenty books. This, however, is not a mystery. It’s literary fiction and it’s very, very good. The writing is emotional and detailed. Every aspect of every scene is poignantly described.


The characters are well-written and their viewpoints change over time as they age. The characterization of Michael McLaren from boy to man, from police cadet to detective, is flawless. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Michael and Jamie as teens.


If you’re looking for a brilliant piece of fiction on life, love, and loss, pick up The Swim.


My Rating: 5+ stars


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Author Biography:


Jo A. Hiestand grew up on regular doses of music, books, and Girl Scout camping. She gravitated toward writing in her post-high school years and finally did something sensible about it, graduating from Webster University with a BA degree in English and departmental honors. She writes a British mystery series (the McLaren Mysteries)—of which three books have garnered the prestigious N.N. Light’s Book Heaven ‘Best Mystery Novel’ three years straight. She also writes a Missouri-based cozy mystery series that is grounded in places associated with her camping haunts. The camping is a thing of the past, for the most part, but the music stayed with her in the form of playing guitar and harpsichord, and singing in a folk group. Jo carves jack o’ lanterns badly and sings loudly. She loves barbecue sauce and ice cream (separately, not together), kilts (especially if men wear them), clouds and stormy skies, and the music of G.F. Handel. You can usually find her pulling mystery plots out of scenery—whether from photographs or the real thing.


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Reviewed by: Nancy


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