A murder mystery overlaid with Native American supernatural elements equates to a real page-turner in Nathalie Goldston’s debut novel Valley of Sorrows. The author includes sufficient twists and turns to keep us a bit off balance, but also drops enough hints for us to feel smug for figuring out a few important plot elements ahead of the characters. Agatha Christie would approve.
The characters themselves are multi-dimensional and vivid, particularly Thaddeus Cain, who steps off the page to haunt our dreams – or nightmares. Goldston is particularly deft in handling Thad’s relationship with Edna and Sam, a singular tender moment in an otherwise tortured life; not until the relationship is unraveling do we realize the reason it was doomed from the start.
Golston’s writing is natural, but fully professional. She often paints with broad strokes, leaving our imaginations to fill in the gaps, but never leaves essential details to chance. All in all, a very enjoyable book!