Thursday, 12 July 2012

Book 56 of 2012: Falling Into Green

Falling Into Green by Cher Fischer touts itself as 'an Eco-mystery' which I'll admit is part of what attracted me to it. It sounded like an interesting concept and I'm always keen to find out more about the environment so I happily requested a review copy and I was pretty pleased when I got it.

It follows Esmeralda, whose friend committed suicide at the age of sixteen, as she witnesses history repeating itself after her friend Charlie's niece is found dead at the foot of the same cliff. As the detective works to solve the crime (and possibly steal Esmeralda's boyfriend), Esmeralda becomes deeply involved in the mystery and as this happens, so she becomes more determined to find out the truth.

At the beginning of this book I was reminded of the Kathy Reichs books I have been reading recently. Both feature strong female characters acting as the narrator for the story, which is told from a first-person point of view. This meant that I was drawn into it straightaway, I guess it just matched my expectations of what a mystery/detective-type story should be.

I have to admit that I didn't really warm to Esmeralda much during the course of the book. She was an interesting character but I did struggle to find her likeable. Esmeralda has very strong beliefs about the environment and she doesn't hesitate to let the reader know about them, which made me feel like she was quite an obsessive sort of character. It's something that she was aware of herself, deliberately mentioning the fact that she was judging her boyfriend based on the car that he was driving, but she took it to such extremes that it kind of made her very irritating. If I knew her in real life I don't think I would be able to stand being around her for more than a few minutes at a time.

The big twist/reveal in the story was not only the solution to the murder of Charlie's niece, but also the reason for Charlie's suicide, something that Esmeralda had never understood. I did find that a little bit implausible. Without wanting to give too much away about the story; I would be surprised if the real reason had never come up in some sort of inquest and why the family would even want to cover something up like that.

There was a strong environmental message to the story. I quite liked reading about some of the alternatives to non-environmentally friendly products/approaches, but at times it did come across as a little bit preachy. I did find myself picking up and putting down the book, because there's only so much of that that I can take at a time. It was interesting to read about California and I liked the way that the landscape was as much a character in this story as the flesh and blood people.

One thing I did find a bit strange was the idea of 'ecopsychology' which is actually the author's profession. It's to do with how one's environment can influence one's psychology; which makes enough sense for me, I guess. A little bit out there, but understandable enough. Esmeralda also does this thing where she 'fuses' with her environment; the plants or animals around her. I found that a little bit strange, but I overlooked that because it was fiction after all.

On the whole it was a pretty good read. I'd probably be interested to read more by the same author.

"We want more food, and bigger chickens and cows to eat, so we pump them up with all sorts of chemicals and create antibiotic-resistant disease. We want to base the world's economy on oil, so we pump it into the air and get climate change."Location 3945

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