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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
In the House of Night by Donald Levin is an edgy mystery novel you won't want to miss. The seventh in the Martin Preuss investigator series, this novel delves into the murder of a mild-mannered history professor, but this is just the beginning of the twists, turns, and secrets that unfold around the investigation. Levin is a pro at crafting intriguing plots, memorable characters, and scenes that will keep you turning pages. Just when you think you know what's going to happen, the author throws you a curveball. This is a contemporary mystery with a classic feel. The story grows more suspenseful with each chapter, with threads of loneliness, family nostalgia, and antisemitism running through it.
Levin adds layers to his basic whodunit story, and there is much more to it than just a dry investigation. You'll find underlying themes of old wounds, redemption, and forgiveness. Another thing to like about this story is the relationship the main character, Preuss, has with a woman named Grace who offers intimacy and a listening ear. The dialogue between them is nice. Besides the investigation and personal relationship, you also enjoy the interesting settings Levin takes you through--from the streets of Detroit to a Buddhist temple. Preuss is a clever detective and an engaging character with traits we can relate to - parental issues, internal struggles, and a desire for justice and fairness. Levin is skilled at setting up the plot, building curiosity and suspense, creating memorable, original characters like Devonte and Toby, and following through to a satisfying conclusion. Once you get into the head of Martin Preuss, you feel like you know him on a first-name basis. In the House of Night by Donald Levin should be on every mystery fan's to-read list.