Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Review: The Clouds Roll Away

When the announcement came through about a blog tour for The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello, I got as far as the words "forensic geologist" before I scrolled back up to request to participate.  I enjoy a good mystery, Connor plans to go into some branch of forensics (he's leaning towards entomology), and William usually tells me he's considering a career in geology.  I had to have this one!

I'm so glad that I requested it, and am thrilled that I was picked for the tour.  So here is the publisher's description (and notice that I didn't get very far before requesting the book!):
Forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon returns home for Christmas but discovers Richmond, Virginia running low on goodness and light.

Although her exemplary service in Seattle lifted her disciplinary transfer, Raleigh lands a hometown civil rights case riddled with problems that could get her sent away again. When she helps out a fellow cop, her life goes on the line, forcing her undercover in a sting operation. As Raleigh realizes the lines are crossing and double-crossing, her domestic life starts to unravel. Her mother's mental health cracks like ice, her closest friend grows cold, and her old boyfriend DeMott comes a-calling, hoping for more than chestnuts by an open fire.

While the city glows with Christmas lights and carols, Raleigh is forced to rely on her sharpest skills to stay alive, hoping for that one clear moment when everything makes sense and the clouds roll away.
I loved the book.  Loved it.  It was a bit tough to get into right off the bat, but it didn't take too many chapters before I was totally hooked.  My favorite aspects?
  • Forensic Geology.  Something Connor was reading lately talked about any branch of science being used in forensics.  But geology?  Not the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about the FBI.
  • Details just felt solid.  The author is a geology major, so clearly those details seemed real.  But so many other things seemed real as well.  There was some gun conversation that rang true, and the place descriptions sure seemed realistic as well.
  • I loved that the main character lived in a flawed family, and everything didn't work out happily ever after.  Sure, some stuff did.  But not everything.
  • There were unanswered questions.  What exactly happened that got her banished to Seattle in the first place?  Of course, it was only after I wrote this up that I realized this is book #3 in a series.  Time to get busy looking for #1 and #2...
  • The hate crimes aspect was well-written.  A number of points of view are expressed.
  • It isn't preachy.  Yet it is clear what Raleigh believes, and Who.  Without scads of sermons.
  • Along those lines, a number of denominations are represented, with no claims as to one being right, another being wrong.  
  • And I feel comfortable handing the book to my teen.  He hasn't decided if he wants to read it or not, but I don't have a problem with it if he does.
As far as what I didn't like, well, that list is shorter.  It was hard to get into initially, but I mentioned that already.  And Raleigh, of course, is described as beautiful, but at least that doesn't come up terribly often.

I absolutely will be looking for more from Sibella Giorello.

Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Clouds Roll Away by giving away a KINDLE prize pack worth over $150.00!
One Grand Prize winner will receive:
  • Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi
  • $25 gift certificate to
To enter simply click on one of the icons below! Then tell your friends! Winner will be announced January 3, 2011 on Sibella's blog:
About The Clouds Roll Away - "Beautifully written with exquisite descriptions, Giorello's mystery also features well-developed characters..." —Booklist, starred review

Disclaimer:  I received this book through LitFuse Blog Tour.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own.   

1 comment:

Sibella said...

You might like my name but I happen to adore the name "Footprints in the Butter."

Thank you for your thoughtful review -- it made my day.

Sibella Giorello