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The Fault Tree [Hardcover]

Louise Ure

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Book Description

Jan. 8 2008
Arizona auto mechanic Cadence Moran is no stranger to darkness. She was blinded in a horrific car accident eight years ago that also took the life of her three-year old niece. She knows she was only partially to blame, but that doesn't make the loss any easier to bear. She's learned to get by, but there are still painful memories. When she is almost run down by a speeding car on the way home from work, Cadence at first thinks that she is the victim of road rage or a bad driver. But that's not the case. In fact, she is the only witness to the murder of her elderly neighbor, and now the killer believes that she's seen the getaway car.Louise Ure paints the glare of a Southwestern summer with the brush of a blind woman's darkness in this novel of jeopardy and courage … and the fine line between them--as Cadence fights to stop a killer she can't see.

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: 24.2 x 17.3 x 2.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,277,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Shamus-winner Ure's deeply compelling and original protagonist falls just short of keeping her intricate second mystery afloat. Cadence Moran, a blind auto mechanic in Tucson, Ariz., has an uncanny ability to pinpoint engine problems by sound. Her skill soon becomes a key element in solving a series of gruesome murders. The tale of how Cadence was blinded is delicately revealed in tiny pieces, satisfying curiosity without slowing development. A complex but credible plot supported by adroit pacing keeps readers guessing through the first two-thirds of the novel, but Ure reveals the killers' identities while police are still chasing dead ends, destroying the tension. The clichéd, Hollywood-style action scenes at the very end stretch believability to the breaking point. When Ure (Forcing Amaryllis) can develop conclusions that do justice to her meticulously drawn characters and settings, she'll be a force to be reckoned with. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Heart-stopping suspense that builds to a crescendo and well-defined characters make this a top-notch mystery. Readers looking for an author similar to the late Barbara Seranella will find this a sure bet. Highly recommended for all collections." Library Journal

"...alternates first-person and third-person narratives with unusual dexterity, is by turns an accomplished procedural, an acute study of a fiercely independent heroine and a nail-biting suspenser."  - Kirkus, starred review

"Louise Ure is a tremendous new talent on the mystery scene. THE FAULT TREE showcases her skills at creating a riveting plot and characters you can really care about. I literally couldn’t put it down."  --Marcia Muller, author of VANISHING POINT
"An original and gripping work, more proof--as if any was needed--that Louise Ure is an exciting new voice in the mystery field.  And its nail-bitting suspense is balanced with a thoughtful, nuanced view of where blame truly begins.  Cadence is an extraordinary character and Ure's ability to capture her world is nothing less than remarkable." --Laura Lippman, award-winning author of TO THE POWER OF THREE
"Louise Ure’s skillfully written second novel (after the Shamus Award-winning FORCING AMARYLLIS) is a suspenseful tour de force. It has everything a reader could want: Fascinating and brilliantly crafted characters, blistering pacing, and a story that keeps you in white-knuckle mode till the very end. THE FAULT TREE is another winner." --J.D. Rhoades, author of THE DEVIL’S RIGHT HAND, GOOD DAY IN HELL, and SAFE AND SOUND 
"Ure is a writer of exquisite precision and incendiary talent. FAULT TREE is a knockout on all fronts: so rich in voice and suspense that I guarantee it will blow your doors off." --Cornelia Read, author of A FIELD OF DARKNESS
"Daring and powerful with a character so unique - you won't believe your eyes." --Elaine Flinn, Barry Award winning author of the Molly Doyle Mysteries
"A blind, female auto mechanic?  Louise Ure pulls it off.  THE FAULT TREE is a suspense-laden, page-turner that is also full of humanity.  I recommend it to anyone looking for a fast and satisfying read." --Barbara Seranella, creator of the Munch Mancini Series

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alternates Between Excellent and Outlandish May 19 2008
By Big Mac - Published on Amazon.com
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Guaranteed - One of the Best Mysteries of 2008 Jan. 8 2008
By Lesa Holstine - Published on Amazon.com
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A no-fault book Jan. 8 2008
By B. G. Ritts - Published on Amazon.com
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
3.0 out of 5 stars 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
5.0 out of 5 stars 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.

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