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Logic, mystery, poetry and real life in an almost perfect blend

  • Jan 11, 2013
Rating:
+4

To solve a conundrum you need to know the right question, the one whose answer hides the key, the secret that turns mystery into logical consequence. In C. S. Lakin’s Conundrum, Lisa knows well how to solve the mysteries of memorizing poems and songs. References classical and modern abound as she views the world around her. But her own memories, her own family, and especially her dead father and suicidal brother, remain an unsolved conundrum, frustrating her at every turn. Every potential key seems just another dead-end in the maze of her own lost history. Meanwhile her husband and her mother seem determined to destroy her future too.
A controlling mother, despairing brother, marriage falling apart… lost animals given shelter when the shelterer needs somewhere safe of her own… secrets and lies, quotes and applications, all roll together in this beautifully written tale. The author writes with a slow complex cadence, gently pulling the reader into her protagonist’s desire to know more. Each step in the maze leads to new twists and turns. Elliot, Yeats, Shakespeare, the music of the eighties, the mysteries of the age… The protagonist’s wordy analysis, occasionally didactic pronouncements , and introspective nature mesh perfectly. Quotes are used beautifully, and the truth will either set Lisa free or bind her—in the end it’s her choice.
Does a son turn into his father, or a daughter into her mother? Or is our future something we choose for ourselves? This novel sheds intriguing light on the way we see and blame each other when we should look closer to home. Slow reading is balanced with complex allusions, beautiful language with well-drawn quotes, and dark despair with the choice to make a change, making this a genuinely enjoyable and deeply intriguing novel.
Disclosure: I was lucky enough to buy an ecopy of this book when it was offered free

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About the reviewer
Sheila Deeth ()
Ranked #42
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
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C. S. Lakin is a novelist and professional copyeditor who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, dog, and three cats. The first three books in her seven-book fantasy series, The Gates of Heaven, have been released: The Wolf of Tebron, The Map across Time, and The Land of Darkness, allegorical fairy tales drawing from classic tales we all read in our childhood.

Lakin's relational drama/mystery, Someone to Blame, won the 2009 Zondervan First Novel award, released October 2010. She just complete writing her eleventh novel, a modern-day take on the biblical story of Jacob called Intended for Harm. Also available on ebook are two mystery/psychological dramas: Innocent Little Crimes and Conundrum. Don't miss Time Sniffers: a wild young adult sci-fi romance that will entangle you in time!
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