The Silent Bride
The Silent Bride, the latest installment in Leslie Glass’s April Woo mystery series, starts off with plenty of action and never lets up, but has an ending that is not quite up to par with the rest of the book. It is, however, plenty entertaining, with good characterizations and, in Detective Sergeant April Woo, a wonderful main character.
Tovah Schoenfeld, a rather unhappy and glassy-eyed Jewish Orthodox bride, is shot to death on her wedding day in front of all her guests. The initial supposition that the killing was a hate crime or was related somehow to the groom’s family (who pull the expensive ring off the dying Tovah’s finger) gives way to suspicions about the high strung wedding planner, Wendy Lotte. Wendy is not only a drinker and a kleptomaniac, but is also an excellent shot with a serious incident in her past. Another of Wendy’s clients died mysteriously a day before her wedding, eight months before Tovah’s murder. There is, however, another link between the murdered brides, and that is the celebrity designer who made both their gowns, Tang Ling (think Vera Wang).
Now, April Woo and her lover, Homicide Detective Mike Sanchez are on the case. The case, horrific under any circumstances, creates a distinctive type of stress for April because not only is her best friend, Ching, about to be married (wearing a gown made by Tang Ling) but Mike is pushing for them to set a wedding date of their own. April is torn between her Chinese heritage and desire to honor her family, and her American lifestyle and her desire to do her “unsuitable” job and live her life on her own terms. As someone who also grapples with living within two cultures, I found April’s struggles very understandable and real.
When Prudence Hay, another unhappy bride whose wedding has been coordinated by Wendy, is also shot and killed on her wedding day, it looks more and more like Wendy might be responsible for the crimes, or at least be the brains behind them. While Wendy claims to be innocent, she can’t deny that the evidence certainly seems to be pointing in her direction. April and Mike check every possible thread before discovering who the killer is.
I had a couple of problems with the book. Solving the mystery didn’t provide the truly satisfactory ending I had been looking forward to, but not for the reason you may think. To say more would constitute a spoiler. Also, some of the Spanish phrases used in the book were mangled. It would have been easy enough for the author to have had someone who speaks Spanish look those over.
Even so, I was intrigued enough by Ms. Glass’s writing, and by April Woo, that I will go back and read the previous books in the series. If you’ve been looking for a fast-paced police procedural that will keep you engrossed throughout, you might want to give this one a try.