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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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Giorello, Sibella: The Clouds Roll Away

  Amazon  

3.5 stars

The Clouds Roll Away is the third installment in Sibella Giorello's series of Christian-themed mysteries featuring forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon. Raleigh works for the FBI and is stationed back in Richmond Virginia, her home town, after a stint in Seattle, where she'd been sent on a disciplinary transfer in a earlier outing. I've not read the previous two books in the series, and so had to gleen what back story I could from this novel. It's not always perfectly clear, coming at it fresh in this third book, exactly what's going on. Raleigh lives with her mother, or in the carriage house of her mother's mansion. Her father was killed some years before this novel starts, and his death weighs heavily on the family. The loss may be what's behind her mother's strange behavior: depression, or dementia, or some kind of mental illness, though she seems to be capable of functioning for the most part. They have a boarder named Wally who has some emotional claim on the family, but it's not really clear what that comes from. There's also a love interest whom Raleigh seems to have mixed feelings about, and a superior who has it in for her. Professionally speaking, Raleigh has two issues on her plate in this outing, a hate crime committed against a big-name rapper, RPM, and a drug sting, with some overlap between the two. I like that Raleigh's specialty is forensic geology because it's not the sort of career one runs across often in novels, but her expertise isn't called upon as often as one would like. Her interactions with the local police and her colleagues sometimes seem to be delivered in shorthand, so that I wasn't always completely clear on what was going on.

Giorello's prose is laced with some nicely written, almost poetic patches. The character of Raleigh is reasonably well drawn, but I felt unconnected to everyone else in the story (though RPM is an intriguing character). The book counts as Christian fiction, and Raleigh's faith figures in the story intermittently. Sometimes the references feel a little out of place, however, as if they were added as an afterthought.

On the whole, a mixed bag: the prose is good but the story and characters are sometimes confusing. But I might have had a different reaction to it had I read the first two books in the series first.

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