February 12, 2019
I picked this book to read from a recommendation of a friend. By accident, I started with book 3 of the Frank Nagler Mystery series. I was not disappointed as the book was a fantastic stand-alone for a series and I immediately read the first two, after. This story was set in a typical American small city/town. The scenes were set and believable to the point I thought I was working with the protagonist as I continued reading to try and solve the twisting story. Corruption exploited the scores of many locations and scenarios. The girl was a great addition to the story and made me want to find out more. I highly recommend this read and the full series. Kudos to the author.
My great thanks to the reviewer of this stunning review of “The Weight of Living.”
Who is “The girl?”
She opens the book:
“She seemed hollow, the girl did. Breathing, hearing, touching, but absent. Small, dark dots sunk into an ashen blank face, eyes impossibly dull for someone so young, eyes that stared straight ahead at the faded green wall; hard, eyes so hard that did not seem to register the color of the wall, the brown of the tabletop, the light bulb above her head or the presence of anyone else. Robotic. From the police car to the police station and into the back office she walked with slow, short steps, and once in the room without being told, she slipped sideways into the green vinyl chair with the tear in the seat that exposed the white cotton batting inside; the chair that engulfed her, hips too small to fill the worn indentation in the center of the seat as she faced the wall, folded her hands on the table and sat upright.
Her eyes held no light; expressionless, passages not to a dark soul, but to one seemingly hidden or removed; spaces missing life. Eyes not filled with pain, but absence.
Her hair was raggedly cut and filthy, as was her thin, damaged body. Grime lived in her skin folds, under her fingernails, on and in her skin so deeply its color changed from white to brown-gray; dirt so thick her skin shed water like plastic.
Later, Leonard, Detective Frank Nagler’s blind bookstore owning friend says this:
“I was thinking about the little girl, what she must be going through. I tried to speak to her when we were kidnapped” — he laughed — “trying to reassure her. She was so withdrawn; I could feel it in her hands when we talked. I told her I was blind, and the only way I would know she was still there was if I held her hand. Sometimes the pressure was tight, hard, like she was holding onto this world, and other times light and playful. When she held my hands tightly, I think she was fighting against her protective instinct to slide deep within herself.” He leaned forward and rested his cheeks on his balled fists. “I wanted at times to figuratively reach inside her soul, to free it, but I could not. Someone must, Frank, or she will be lost. We are so much alike, she and I, so apart from this world.” He wiped his eyes, now tearing. “I didn’t even have a name I could call her. Who has no name, Frank?”
was awarded FIRST PLACE for Mysteries in the 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Contest;
Named a NOTABLE 100 Book in the 2018 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest;
Named a DISTINGUISHED FAVORITE in the 2018 Independent Press Awards,
Named a DISTINGUISHED FAVORITE in the 2018 Big NYC Book Contest.
The Nagler books are available in ebook and paperback at:
An anthology edition, containing all three Nagler books and a bonus short story, “Who Shot the Smart Guy at the Blackboard?” is available in ebook, paperback and hardcover at:
An audio version of “The Swamps of Jersey” is available at: https://www.amazon.com/The-Swamps-of-Jersey/dp/B07BT8WHM3/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=