Book Review | “See Also Deception” (A Marjorie Trumaine #Mystery, No.2) by Larry D. Sweazy

Posted Friday, 13 May, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , 2 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary ARC copy of “See Also Deception” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why I love reading the Marjorie Trumaine Mysteries:

Sweazy has a lovely tone of delivery inside his stories – especially in regards to See Also Murder, as he takes his time introducing his characters whilst giving you the strength of their lives up front. His gentle manner of allowing his characters to warm to you is what granted me the most joy in curling inside the novel – I could tell I was on the fringe of rallying behind Marjorie Trumaine straight out of the gate! His poetic glimpses of farm life in the Dakotas, of singling out moments of paused reflection were a delight to entreat inside because they earnestly told living truths about the lifestyle the Trumaine’s lived. I appreciated the way the novel started to become such an enjoyable feast of words, expressions and observational nuggets of the author’s impressions on behalf of his world.

Mr Sweazy injected such heartache inside his character’s heart, but he etched out the hard lines with feather kisses of hope and an underscored will to survive in the face of so much uncertainty. In the character Marjorie Trumaine he created the strength of a woman who was an equal to the natural environ of her home – the Dakotas have such fierce weather patterns, they alone can strengthen your resolve (or break it if your unable to deal with the influx of change on such a high frequency); but it’s how he’s given her something to focus on with an orderly task within the publishing industry that fused her will to her lifeline of hope that I felt was most fitting of all. It spoke to her true nature and to the spirit of the young girl she once was who found solace in stories.

To read the rest of my thoughts and what inspired me to read the #MarjorieTrumaineMysteries kindly read my review on behalf of the first novel in the series ‘See Also Murder’!

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Book Review | “See Also Deception” (A Marjorie Trumaine #Mystery, No.2) by Larry D. SweazySee Also Deception
Subtitle: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery
by Larry D. Sweazy
Source: Direct from Publisher

October 1964—just months after freelance indexer Marjorie Trumaine helped solve a series of murders in Dickinson, North Dakota, she is faced with another death that pulls her into an unwanted investigation. Calla Eltmore, the local librarian, is found dead at work and everyone considers it suicide. But Marjorie can’t believe that Calla would be capable of doing such a thing.

At Calla’s wake, Marjorie’s suspicions are further aroused when she notices something amiss in the open casket. But neither the sheriff nor the coroner are interested in her observation.

Despite pressing job commitments and the burden of caring for a husband in declining health, Marjorie recruits Deputy Guy Reinhardt to help her uncover the truth. What she finds is a labyrinth of secrets that she had no knowledge of— and threats from someone who will kill to keep these secrets hidden.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781633881266

Also by this author: See Also Murder

Also in this series: See Also Murder


Genres: Amateur Detective, Book Indexing, Crime Fiction, Publishing Industry


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 10th May, 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 244

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Marjorie Trumaine Mystery series:

Story Locale: A small town in North Dakota in 1964

Series Overview: Marjorie Trumaine, a freelance book indexer, uses her research skills and attention to detail to help the police solve crimes in rural North Dakota during the early 1960s.

See Also Murder | No.1 | review

See Also Deception | No.2 | Happy #PubDay! 10 May, 2016

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Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #MarjorieTrumaineMysteries

About Larry D. Sweazy

Larry D. Sweazy Photo Credit: Rose M. Sweazy

Larry D. Sweazy is the author of See Also Murder, A Thousand Falling Crows, Escape from Hangtown, Vengeance at Sundown, The Gila Wars, The Coyote Tracker, The Devil’s Bones, The Cougar’s Prey, The Badger’s Revenge, The Scorpion Trail, and The Rattlesnake Season.

He won the WWA Spur award for Best Short Fiction in 2005 and for Best Paperback Original in 2013, and the 2011 and 2012 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction for the Josiah Wolfe series.

He was nominated for a Derringer award in 2007, and was a finalist in the Best Books of Indiana literary competition in 2010, and won in 2011 for The Scorpion Trail. He has published over sixty nonfiction articles and short stories, which have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine; The Adventure of the Missing Detective: And 25 of the Year’s Finest Crime and Mystery Stories!; Boys’ Life; Hardboiled; Amazon Shorts, and several other publications and anthologies. He is member of ITW (International Thriller Writers), WWA (Western Writers of America), and WF (Western Fictioneers).

Photo Credit: Rose M. Sweazy
FYI: think Patrick Swayze when saying the author's name!

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Marjorie Trumaine: a survivor and a small towne heroine:

When it comes to fondly remembering what centred me most inside the footsteps of Marjorie Trumaine, I had to think directly on what makes her a survivor and a small towne heroine – Marjorie doesn’t shy away from difficulty, she walks straight through the eye of a tornado instead! She bolsters herself with courage she never knew she had such a well of depth to pull from as she navigates the changing tides of her small Dakota towne whilst attempting to find a footpath to settle herself upon which might bring her financial security for herself and her disabled husband Hank. She’s a character whose rooted to her farm, her community and the people who make her life well-lived and full of meaning. She cares about her fellow neighbours and has a long history of pride of her ancestral roots wherein her fortitude of strength can be readily foreshadowed out of the annals of her family’s living history.

Marjorie takes stock of things most might dismiss out of hand – she has a quick perception to recognise a visual clue waving itself in front of her eyes to alert her that something is not quite as it seems; thus giving her a bit of an edge on others who might not understand the truth they have yet to see for themselves. She’s not just a survivor of fate’s cruelty and the hardships of a farmer’s wife without the full use of the acres they have to spare but of life’s unexpected curves, which can test you well outside your point of return if you let them. She’s the type of heroine any small towne would rally behind because she seeks the truth in every situation and attempts to thwart her own prejudgements in exchange for re-assessing what is known by what she knows to be true herself. It’s a credit to what makes her uniquely genuine and a constant well of strength for the residents of Dickinson.

My Review of See Also Deception:

I must admit – I was a bit unexpectedly gobsmacked by the revelation a second character I felt keen to know better was another victim of murder in a series which charmed my heart straight out of the gate! Sweazy has a way of keeping his reader on edge whilst endearing us with a story which behooves the grief of losing characters you appreciate whilst tucked inside the evolving drama Mrs Trumaine can noodle out of her small towne and the shadowy backdrop of where darkness can prickle through even the best of places.

We’re deposited straight back inside the bewitching moment of curating an index for a project at hand by her New York editor whilst attempting to sleuth out a bit more information about a perplexing omission her current project’s author had not seen fit to include in his book. A mark of frustration for an indexer like Marjorie Trumaine who works so tirelessly to make her indexes worthy of their reader’s eyes whose inquisitive nature is an equal match to her own. She’s confuddled by Calla’s absence on the other end of the line – growing vexed a bit at the proposition of not resolving the issue at hand whilst dearly fraught with concern for her friend.

We learnt of Calla’s friendship with Marjorie in See Also Murder wherein the women bonded over academic research and the swirls of heartache life can afford you as you progress through adversities. They shared a smoke and fireside chats behind the library whilst they anchoured each other through their conjoined compassion for seeking the truth and for standing by each other despite circumstances that tested to pull them apart; such as one incident in the prior installment of this series. Calla was a whippersnapper of a talker and a no nonsense independent woman who had a fierce loyalty to those she cared about; which endeared her to you all the same, despite her quirks.

I understood the frustration behind ‘musk thistle’ as there is a thistle that grows in my own region that is an irritating resident for farmers and those who are agriculturally inclined. Thistles have a way of encroaching where they are not welcome and whose roots are quite hard to disincline from returning! I had to smile to myself, whilst I was reading about the thistle disrupting lives in the Dakotas as it brought back memories of my own teenage years dealing with a thistle of another species! You all but throw up your hands in defeat, sighing quite exasperatingly and letting the thistles ‘simply be’ if they’re removed a bit from where their troublesome presence can be more directly problematic!

Marjorie was blessed by the sons of her deceased neighbours who had a respect and sense of honour when it comes to being neighbourly – seeing Jaeger eager to be watchful over the needs of the farm whilst his brother is off serving the military was a stroke of continuity I was happy was kept, as it was such a touching part of the story previously – where you gathered a sense this community was the kind to hug closer together than grow apart when tragedy struck. Except of course, for the personal friends who walked out a bit on the Trumaines. I could feel the palatable tension of Marjorie’s choice to leave the farm and head into towne to make enquiries on behalf of Calla’s untimely end – the last time she felt inclined to do this, she lost a dear friend in Ardith.

What a difficult character to encounter at the library, no less! I truly felt for Marjorie as she encountered the temporary replacement for Calla; the woman was colder than the ice sheets in the Arctic! Truly an unsavoury character whose heart was surely not in conveying compassion nor understanding for patrons who had just been jostled by the shocking reality of their beloved librarian having been found dead. Her personality was so very off-putting, I gave credit to Marjorie to sort out a way to talk to her whilst gaining the information she needed about that beast of a thistle!

On a personal side, Marjorie is shouldering such a weight against her soul in this turning of tides, where her heart feels as if it’s splintering into unrecognisable shards. Her acceptance of how her friend (Calla) died was slow coming considering it was out of character (the method) towards how Calla lived her life and as such, how Marjorie knew her friend’s sensibility to be in that regard. Stacked ontop of the tragic sudden loss of Calla, Marjorie’s fears about her husband Hank are tested when to her credit, a crisis did happen whilst she was in towne gathering information! Hank was hospitalised and her nerves were frayed beyond recognition; although her quickfire temperament to react rather than to remain calm tested her will to find restraint out of shock.

The little hints towards Marjorie’s emotional and psychological state were not ferreted out by climatic comparisons this time round but rather how smells and the aromas of life being lived changed her moods per each place she visited as she tried to put right to the wrong of how her beloved friend’s memory was askewed towards a lie. It was clever because the way in which Sweazy articulates the smells towards acknowledging the psychological effects of ‘memories tied to scent’ was quite intuitive and brilliant as it gave Marjorie a new way of expressing her thoughts to the reader. Being a girl whose family was close-knit and on the smaller side of the ledger – I could instantly feel taken back to being at the hospitals and funerals – Sweazy hit on all the olfactory properties a human could muster to remember within a lifetime.

I felt it was beneficial to show a softer side to Hank – despite his difficulties in accepting his current medical conditions, it was nice to see him able to find a bit of joy and laughter. The lighter side of life is never too far from sight, but it can be hard to recapture when you go through something as arduous as Hank Trumaine. Around the backdrop of the stirringly difficult situations his wife Marjorie continues to get herself pickled inside, Hank Trumaine has continued to support her each step of the way. It speaks to their devotion and understanding of each other, but also, in his small gestures of trying to encourage Marjorie to carry on with her life; even if part of her hours are spent away from him. It’s bittersweet in one regard and spirit lifting in another; he wants her to continue to live even if he cannot always be with her as she creates memories outside of his presence.

The ending half of this novel is heart-choking because you’ve become very attached to this small towne, it’s close-knit neighbourly ways and at the centre of it all: Marjorie Trumaine and the life she’s carved out of the prairie towne rooted to her soul. Mr Sweazy has etched out a portrait of realistic life set to a beautiful back-drop of a crime drama which escalates and bends it’s truth-weaving through a cacophony of human-driven anguish and angst. He sets a high standard for dramatic crime fiction, where the crime is only the touchstone of the story not the central heart. You can handle the heaviness of his stories because of the humanistic approach at humbling the story by his lead character Marjorie Trumaine and with the intrinsic intuition of how to stitch a story together with keen insight and a depth of humanity at each turning of a page. Sweazy has given me hours of enjoyment reading his series, and I hunger to read the next installment — to see how Marjorie transitions through this moment of her life and how she finds a renewed conviction of spirit to redefine herself once more. Marjorie Trumaine is a survivor and she engages the reader with her honesty and her forthright tenacity not to allow life to beat her down.

On the detective story styling of Mr Sweazy:

Sweazy let’s us step back inside his book series with the deft stitchings of a book indexers world – so wholly true to his original novel See Also Murder, it is a happy blessing finding his passion to interweave such a wonderful slice of continuity in the next installment! I love serial writers who endeavour to keep the lifeblood of their series intact, but when you find serial fiction authors who can champion the aesthetics of their settings inasmuch as keeping you rooted to the heart-pulse of their characters’ lives’ is equally gratifying as it makes reading their stories quite wickedly enjoyable!

I dearly appreciate the dramatic styling of Sweazy’s approach to writing this mystery series as it’s breadth is far deeper than the psychological impacts of crime and the tragic losses endured by those who are left behind to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. Sweazy digs deeper into the heart and mind of his lead character (Marjorie Trumaine) whilst using her as a guiding point towards understanding the undercurrents of her small Dakota towne – it’s in this approach that I have found myself so happily entrenched inside the Dakotas, and happily residing a bit on the Trumaine farm whilst I walk beside Marjorie as she puts the clues together and finds truth out of secrets hidden from view.

There is a particular scene outside the library where Sweazy equates the fluttered chaos of scattered books to the curious habits of loose chickens; the analogy made me smile but it’s also a classic way in which Sweazy uses the local environs of the Dakotas to draw an empathsis of visualisation out of the subtle hintings towards what can be cross-referenced together in a new way of interpreting an image from a scene. It also speaks volumes to the life of a book indexer (of which Mr Sweazy is as a freelancer) who can draw conclusionary methods of arranging facts in a different order than they were first revealled.

I appreciated the hidden clues towards understanding Calla’s life even before the picture crystalised and became known to her best friend Marjorie. I saw little hints towards the secret Calla was hiding from view, but they were so subtle if you weren’t keen on picking up the small clues Sweazy was embedding inside his story, you might have read past them without so much as realising what he was foreshadowing to be revealled. I appreciated how he approached this story, how he let the pacing keep it’s slow guiding hand and how as nothing is ever rushed in a Marjorie Trumaine mystery, you have the joy of reading it at a pace where you can step through the foot marks Marjorie is making towards a greater understanding of what was affecting the life of her dearly departed friend. It was humbling and wonderfully written – to see how a friendship was built on trust even before that trust was tested.

This is why I put #EqualityInLit on my Twitter profile and thread stories I am reading through the category on my blog; I appreciate finding authors who have written authentic characters and having them own their truth in such an organic way, you feel as if they could step out of the ink and sit next to you.

Whilst I was curling up inside Marjorie Trumaine’s latest wave of anguish and angst – ooh this author — he keeps killing off my favourite characters! And, yet… I’m more implored to read the story!? He has a way of spinning drama out of tragedy and getting your attention at ‘hallo’ to such a degree of merit, you’re propelled to see what happens irregardless of the fact the characters you’ve attached yourself too are fading out of view.

– says Jorie who continues to find Sweazy one of her unputdownable authors!

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Afterthoughts – not even seasonal allergies could keep me out of the pages of this novel – I have felt so moved by the words and narrative arc of Sweazy’s Marjorie Trumaine Mysteries – the joy I’ve had dissolving inside his world, taking up residence in his version of Dickinson and allowing myself to be swept away into the Dakotas by spirit and narrative impression was a true delight of mine. I can only hope there are many more volumes of this series in store for us all. Marjorie Trumaine is an incredibly layered character – she’s such a strong character, you feel everything she feels and look forward to the next winding path towards resolution she noodles out of clues left behind for someone whose earnest appreciation of truth and justice tie together beautifully. Creating a mystery series of an unexpected amateur detective finding new confidence in using her inquisitive nature to help members of her community find peace and solace out of heartache and loss.

I appreciated reading the Author’s Note on the importance of reaching out to those who can help aide those who wish to do themselves harm (as suicide was a strong topic of interest in this installment) whilst treating the subject with grace and honour. I did not feel he used this as a device to carry the story forward – as each story Sweazy composes seeks to be realistically impressioned on real-life situations that everyone can relate too – either indirectly or directly. He’s creating portraits of lives where composites can be attached out of our real lives; it’s an exquisite balance!

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If you missed my review of ‘See Also Murder’ you missed finding out which Mystery Authors are on my ‘short list’ of favourites and autoreads of their next releases!

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This book review is courtesy of:

Seventh Street Books

Remember: Be sure to earmark this series as a next read if you want wickedly brilliant written mysteries with a soulful touch of humanity intermixed with small towne culture & a depth of heart.

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 I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

Reader @larrydsweazy killed off one of my favourite characters & implored my curiosity tenfold to read this #Mystery Click To Tweet

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “See Also Deception”, book synopsis and series information snippets, author biography and photograph, were all provided by the publisher Prometheus Books and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 13 May, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Indexing, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Equality In Literature, Homestead Life, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Librarians & Library Staff, Library Catalogues & Databases, Prometheus Books, Publishing Industry & Trade, Small Towne USA, The Sixties, Upper Mid-West America, Vulgarity in Literature




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2 responses to “Book Review | “See Also Deception” (A Marjorie Trumaine #Mystery, No.2) by Larry D. Sweazy

  1. Carolyn Steele

    “Gobsmacked” by this insightful review. This sounds like a brilliant read. Your descriptions of Mr. Sweazy’s descriptions inspire me to deep edit my WIP, incorporating more fully the senses. Love reading reviews where I find a new writer to follow as well as receive an inadvertent writing lesson! Well Done!

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Steele!

      I am so nervous about this series! :/ I was on absolute *pins!* awaiting the 3rd novel: See Also Deadline which was meant to release this Spring 2017 except I found the release was pushed back. Unfortunately for me, and others who are curled up so tightly into Marjorie Trumaine’s life – there isn’t a ‘new #PubDay’ being promoted which worries me as I am hoping this series wasn’t pulled! :( I have been itching to read ‘what comes next’ as soon as Ms Trumaine sets off for New York City + meets her Editor/Boss! The hardest series to pull myself in/out of in such a long time is *this one!* because of the way in which Mr Sweazy composes his dramatic crime drama – you just want to follow in Ms Trumaine’s footsteps and never exit her world because there are so many things left unsaid or undone. She has come so far since the first two stories but there are more things for her to accomplish, too!

      I LOVE how my review INSPIRED YOU whilst your tweaking your manuscript! I was so chuffed to read this — as that is such a high honour! :) I am humbled and grateful my style of writing my reviews has helped you in your own writing life! #Blessed.

      **UPDATE: Wait! Hold the presses! I just saw on the GoodReads book page for this novel (See Also Deadline) the release is pushed back to 2018! Whoa! Talk about having a book heart attack there for a second! Okay. I can wait another year! *whew!* Close one!!

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