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The Fault Tree Hardcover – Jan 8 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (Jan. 8 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312375859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312375850
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 15.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,212,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 16 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Alternates Between Excellent and Outlandish May 19 2008
By Big Mac - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
My book club's choice for May was The Fault Tree, by Louise Ure. We choose books by a different method each month, and this month we decided to read a mystery featuring a person with a disability. This was based on a discussion we'd had about classic TV mysteries, which led to a discussion of Ironsides, which led to a discussion of people with disabilities as featured in mysteries...which led us to The Fault Tree.

Cadence Moran lost her sight in a tragic accident (details of which are revealed little by little throughout the book), but her finely tuned ear and independent spirit allow her to earn a living as an auto mechanic. The setting is the blazing hot city of Tucson, Arizona, where Cadence lives alone and avoids her alcoholic mother. However, Cadence is not a loner at all--she does have relationships and friends, who are the book's cast members. The plot is based on a misunderstanding. A woman is murdered and the killer believes that Cadence is a witness and must therefore be eliminated. Because Cadence is so independent, however, the killer doesn't realize that Cadence is blind and couldn't possibly have seen anything.

The book, while labeled "A Mystery" on its cover, is really a mixture of a mystery (though we do find out the murderer's identity quite a bit before the end of the book) and a sort of "damsel in distress" suspense novel along the lines of Mary Higgins Clark. While the cops are chasing leads and trying to figure out who's stalking Cadence, the heroine is busy protecting herself from the stalker.

We had a very lively discussion about this book, and if you read it you will see why. Our overall conclusion was that we had rarely read a book where the author did so many things WELL and so many things POORLY.

As a novel, we felt it really succeeded in drawing a superb main character and supporting cast; and its setting is meticulously well realized (you can feel yourself sweating as Ure describes the streets of Tucson). Cadence Moran is fully realized and complicated, but she is the narrator of only about a third of the book. Alternating chapters are told in third-person viewpoint from other perspectives, including those of the villain and the investigating cops. We tend to like shifting viewpoints, and we thought that was very well handled here.

In addition, the pacing is really excellent--it's hard to put the book down once you get past a certain point. And the author avoids the easy answers, concluding her story well but without oversimplifying it. In addition, there are some complications to the mystery where innocent people are hurt, which we felt added another unique dimension and twist to the book.

However, as a mystery, THE FAULT TREE is really very flawed, and this is where we scratched our heads. There are at least half a dozen occasions in the book where smart people--including the quite smart heroine--act in ways that defy all human comprehension. It's hard to go into details without spoilers, but all the characters do incredibly stupid things--in one chapter, worrying about their safety, and then in the next chapter making decisions that would jeopardize not only their own safety but also that of the people they love.

The villains, too, seem to be drawn out of the Oliver Stone film NATURAL BORN KILLERS; and their motivation makes little sense, unless you think of their sole motivation being the desire to propel the story. They were probably the dumbest criminals in the history of crime fiction; and this is despite the fact that Ure points out on several occasions that neither one of them is dumb (at least academically).

There are coincidences galore, too--including a found object in an exceedingly improbable place that leads to a highly unlikely plot turn in the last 10 pages. The book's drawn-out climax strains believability to the breaking point...If this were a film, the audience would be glued to their seats, and then immediately afterwards say, "That was completely ridiculous."

In the end, though, we did enjoy the book--probably more at the beginning, and more for the sake of the heroine, than for the outlandish story. I realized that I personally have recommended the book several times, but always with a caveat. Overall our feeling was that we would give future titles by this author a look because she really knows how to get your blood racing, and she knows how to tell a story. If only that story could be a little more grounded in reality.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Guaranteed - One of the Best Mysteries of 2008 Jan. 8 2008
By Lesa Holstine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
When Louise Ure's first Arizona mystery, Forcing Amaryllis, debuted in June 2005, I was impressed with the compelling story and the stunning cover. It went on to win the Private Eye Writers of America's Shamus Award for Best First Novel.

The Fault Tree, the second book in Ure's Arizona trilogy, was just released, and it won't disappoint any of her fans. Hopefully, it will introduce a whole new audience to this talented author.

Cadence Moran is thirty-one, and an auto mechanic who works nights at Walt's Auto Shop in Tucson. Walking home from work one night, she hears a scream, laughter, and a car tear away. Cadence has just heard the end of a murder. Although Cadence is a witness, she's blind, and can only depend on her other senses to tell the police what she "knows".

Cadence is reluctant to get involved. Eight years earlier, she was the driver in the accident that blinded her, and killed her niece. She's lived with her blindness, and her blame every since. One of the officers on the case is reluctant to believe her, but Detective Dupree has a feeling that Cadence is reliable.

As the police blindly search for killers who seem to have no connection to the victim, the killers are searching for Cadence. She's suddenly a target, a witness to a crime that the killers don't realize she never actually saw. Ure increases the tension, telling the story of Cadence's fear and her clues, the police investigation, and the killers' attempt to eliminate any witnesses. Cadence's clues lead the police in the wrong direction, while the killers make serious mistakes. The three storylines increase the suspense, driving the three groups together.

Louise Ure has written a powerful story of disfunctional families, blame, and responsibility. It's a mystery that starts on a somber, but riveting, note. "At the end, there was so much blame to spread around that we could all have taken a few shovelfuls home and rolled around in it like pigs in stink." The rest of The Fault Tree captures the reader, and doesn't let you go until the final sentence.

It's early in the year to predict another award winner, but I predict that Ure's The Fault Tree will once again vie for the mystery awards. Readers interested in a fascinating character, or one of the best mysteries you'll read in 2008, should pick this one up.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A no-fault book Jan. 8 2008
By B. G. Ritts - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Louise Ure captures an honest humanity in her writing. The characters and place are so alive in THE FAULT TREE. When you're 'with' Cadence, the protagonist, it's like talking with a best friend about the stuff you don't normally discuss with others. It's akin to being inside someone's head. That name also goes wonderfully well with the rhythm of the author's prose.

I found the idea of a blind woman working on cars to be most intriguing (but then, some production workers at facilities that manufacture light sensitive products are required to work in the dark). The only quibble I have is Cadence dwells a bit on things that have happened in her past -- and I probably don't want to feel guilty myself.

The gift Cadence receives at book's end leaves you with a comfortable sense of "all is right with the world" and some things should just be.

This is Ms. Ure's second book. I have thoroughly enjoyed both, and she is on my list of must reads. I hope you'll agree.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not bad, but it kind of drags. May 26 2010
By Big Frank - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The idea of telling a crime story from the viewpoint of a blind woman is kind of interesting, and the first half of the book moves along nicely. I found myself liking Cadence Moran (the blind heroine, now an attractive 30-ish auto mechanic), who, after working late one night, hears the aftermath of a brutal murder while she is leaving work. The plot works its way crisply through the criminals' not knowing the "witness" is blind, to the media-suck-up district attorney leaking the details of Cadence's situation and testimony. Naturally, attempts are made on Cadence's life by the perps, and at this point the story leaves the averagely intelligent reader (me, I hope) behind, as it becomes more and more improbable. **Possible spoiler** The scene in which the perp waits for Cadence in her house, yet is unable to even seriously hurt a woman who can't see him - as written, it was so implausible that it lost me. I kind of slogged through the rest of the story, but by that point I'd lost interest.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Nail-biter of a thriller with a strong female lead April 28 2010
By Elizabeth Ray - Published on Amazon.com
Cadence Moran is a blind auto mechanic who witnesses a murder in her hometown of Tuscon, Arizona. The killers do not realize she is blind, and they consider her a loose end to clean up before they can leave town.

The story is told in alternating chapters. Cadence's experiences are described in first person, while the third person chapters focus on the investigating police officers and the killers themselves, in good thriller fashion. Louise Ure is great at creating strong yet emotionally scarred female protagonists, and the unique character of Cadence and a fast-moving plot make this an outstanding thriller.