Reviews for The Children of Eli
Now this was a find. If you are a fan of contemporary detective fiction, authentic police procedural mysteries, and atmospheric thrillers, you should check it out. Mike Cranny is a writer of historical nonfiction and an archaeologist. His archaeological background is evident in the fascinating and sometimes gruesome detail included in the crime scene descriptions. His writing experience is evident in the taut plot and sharp prose.
Even more compelling is the development of his main character, Detective Archie Stevens, who essentially stumbles into the role of lead investigator on the puzzling and vicious murder of an old acquaintance. Archie is a Native American, estranged from his family and culture; nor does he fit in to the lifestyle of his colleagues or the townsfolk of the small Pacific Northwest community where he lives and where the action takes place. He's an outsider in every way. He has a vulnerable heart, is self conscious, and carries a major chip on his shoulder that propels him into more than a few hot spots. Although his vulnerability and estrangement create the feeling that he sometimes has a tenuous grip on life, his singular search for the truth and his passion for police work (much to his surprise) define him as a tremendously complex and resilient character that we can't help but admire and want to get to know better. He is doggedly determined, smart, and fearless - all the makings of a great detective (and good looking - which doesn't hurt.)
Cranny's portrayal of a small, mist filled coastal community adds to the atmosphere of danger and mystery that permeates the book from start to finish. He has conjured up a locale and scene that is equal to Martin Cruz Smith's portrayal of the Siberian steppes or Henning Mankell's lonely winter landscapes.
I really enjoyed "The Children of Eli" and look forward to reading the next Archie Steven's mystery.
This is a really good read... I like the plot, the main character is very strong.... Archie is as captivating a figure as Renko... writing style is excellent There are plenty of gems…I love the First Nation's imagery.....sweat lodges and the mask thing where the one peels back to reveal the other world........incredibly good stuff.
Every good detective story requires a character who captivates. Archie Stevens, a west-coast Native North American, is just such a figure. He is reminiscent of Martin Cruz Smith's famed Russian detective Arkady Renko. Archie works in a system that does not embrace his presence and he has much to overcome as he, with the help of some interesting supporting characters, endeavours to solve the case. Mike Cranny is a skilled writer. Action scenes move incredibly quickly, the bad guys are really disturbing and he is able to captivate while accessing his in-depth knowledge of west coast native culture. Normally I like to read a few chapters and put the book down, picking it up where I left off within a day or two. When The Children of Eli arrived I had an unusually demanding schedule. Despite this, I consumed the novel in two days. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what challenges lay ahead for Archie Stevens in Mr Cranny's next book.
John Randall Kaneen
In the Children of Eli, author Mike Cranny creates a world that is at turns as familiar a favourite greasy spoon diner yet as alien as a reef projecting from the ocean floor. As much a fixture of this world as any of its flora and fauna is detective Archie Stevens, something of a conflicted soul who at times seems as familiar as a cousin but at others as mysterious as the case he is investigating. Like the rest of the multicultural cast in this tale of intrigue, Archie is defined as much by his faults as his virtues. A product of mixed aboriginal and white parentage, he doesn't feel too comfortable in either culture, which might explain the totem-pole sized chip he balances on his shoulder, especially when it comes to dealing with authority figures. That makes him just the cop to deal with a cold case of maritime poaching that soon becomes wrapped in a murder before becoming twisted inside an enigma. In solving the puzzle, though, Archie must confront not only his own demons but a dark bit of lore of the community he has sworn to protect and serve. Those familiar with the occult and utopian histories of certain obscure locales on the North American west coast will see fragments of those tales amid the clues in this mystery. But anyone who has ever spent any time in any small town will also experience déjà-vu aplenty in Cranny's portrayal of Harsley and its inhabitants. The author deftly reveals the foibles of the characters and their entanglements, carefully peeling away those layers and braiding them among revelations of the deepening mystery. Slowly enough to allow the reader to keep pace in the beginning, then gradually accelerating until by the end the reader is hanging on by the fingertips as the story charges toward its unsettling conclusion. It's a crime mystery, after all. So expect unpleasantness, blood, rage, and deceit. But there's also courage, sex, infatuation, and quite a few laughs. Imagine this as a movie starring Adam Beach (of Flags of Our Fathers fame) in the lead role.
After 25 years, my children are raised and are doing well in college. I will enjoy my time reading and catching up on some "me time". Enjoy this book as I did.
This was truly a great book. The psychology of the main character is fascinating. I haven't read much detective fiction before, but this book has completely changed my point of view. I can't wait for more novels by Michael Cranny!
I loved it! I am a fan of Crime novels and I truly thought yours was great...and I loved the inclusion of names in and around Vancouver Island! Thank you so much for the chance to read your work. I will be passing your name on to my friends and family that enjoy the same books as me.
Loved it...couldn't put it down! Loved Archie's character and the suspense!
Like a Michael Conolly novel with detective Bosh.
Can't wait til the next one!
I couldn't put it down. I loved it! Great writing!