Monday, September 16, 2013

Review: In the Matter of Michael Vogel by Drew Yanno

In the Matter of Michael Vogel by Drew Yanno is a pretty interesting suspenseful mystery located in a small town in upstate New York. Michael Vogel, 8-years old, is found dead at the bottom of the community pool. Initially it's safe to assume that Mikey has drowned, but there are three people who know the truth... or at least a portion of the truth. Their own truths lead them on a path that comes together explosively.

In the Matter of Michael Vogel is told by three diffrent voices. The first is Sam Fisher. Sam Fisher is quite possibly the last person to see Michael Vogel alive and is in fear that he may be the next on the list. What he and Mikey witnessed would absolutely shake this small town to the core. Not to mention what they witnessed would only be accepted by today's standards, not the 60s. Sam Fisher is definitely my favorite of this cast. He's young, innocent, and interesting the entire novel. 

Sheriff Daryl Miggs' voice guides us through the police procedural portion and uncovers the mystery bit by bit. Yancey Hager completes the trio of narrators. Miggs is burdened by a lot of guilt and understandably so. Hager is anxious to divert any attention from the matter of Michael Vogel. He has the most to hide is afraid of the consequences of his actions. Actually, all three men harbor so much guilt, fear, and regret. Yanno uses these emotions to great affect.

Drew Yanno does a great job at character development and doens't introduce any unnecessary characters. In a lot of small town novels, the author usually over does it with the character after character introduction. I appreciate it tremendously that Yanno did not fall into this trap. Instead he made the primary characters interesting enough that there was no outside help needed. 

What is also done well in this novel is that initally it seems we have the bad guy figured out. There are red herrings to suggest as much but then a character point of view change will suggest something else entirely. It makes the ending hard to figure out and if true hero really exists. 

In the Matter of Michael Vogel the author uses a lot of foreshadowing that is sometimes a good thing, but in one instance totally took me from the story. It's clear that the story is being recounted and that pretty much ensures some of the survivors. I can accept that. What I don't accept is that during the climax one of the primary characters says that they were later told by a doctor of an injury... It seemed out of place and took away from the suspense. I only mention this one instance because it's huge and glaring. There are moments throughout the text where I was like Whoa! I wish I could have discovered that myself instead of being handed that nugget of info on a silver platter.

Overall, I enjoyed Drew Yanno's debut novel In the Matter of Michael Vogel. It's a fast-paced, easy read that should have mystery lovers on the edge of their seats. Well drawn characters and plot twists are sure to excite readers. I look forward to adding his future novels to my read shelf.    ****

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