Title: Farraday Road by Ace Collins
Reviewed by: Tim George
Date: October 2008
After years of producing a number of excellent non-fiction works, Ace Collins has entered the world of fiction with style. His debut novel, Farraday Road, introduces us to Lije Evans and a cast of characters that are hard to forget. The story begins with Lije, a small town attorney, found shot on a dead-end road and his wife dead not far from him. Lije is offered little chance to grieve as his junior law partner is accused of the crime and the Arkansas Bureau of Investigation shows up intent on proving her guilt.
Farraday Road is a classic southern mystery. Lije lives in the biggest house in town and is wealthy from inherited “old money.” His murdered wife is loved by all and remembered as a great benefactor of charity. Each chapter of the book finds Lije drawn deeper and deeper into something that is far bigger than anything little Salem, Arkansas has ever experienced. But don’t be fooled; this is not a little story. The more Lije seeks to answer why someone would kill his wife the bigger the story gets. Everything from old Indian legends to the James Gang to German SS espionage blend together to make for a story with plenty of plot twists and surprises.
This is a story with rich characters and a mystery with incredible implications. I know it’s overused, but this is the kind of book that really is hard to put down. The story flows so seamlessly it is easy to get lost in its magic. The prose and plot are powerful reminding me of Athol Dickson’s first novels (Gar Reed Mysteries). The spiritual themes of the book are presented in the natural conversations of the characters and the setting of the Deep South. Nothing is forced or preachy but at the same time this is not just a clean story. There is a solid spiritual dimension to it.
A word of warning though; Farraday Road ends with the words, “to be continued.” The mystery is not resolved until Collin’s sequel, Swope’s Ridge, is released in October 2009. The good news is I have already read Swope’s Ridge and can guarantee you the story gets even bigger and the mystery is solved with final resolution. I could review Swope’s Ridge for you but I think I’ll let you guess for now. After all, this is a mystery.