The Bramble and the Rose has animal-hunting sequences to rival those of William Faulkner and hand-to-hand combat struggles as tense as any depicted by Ron Rash or Daniel Woodrell. Mr. Bouman writes like a poet, whether describing an autumn landscape or a bear autopsy or a man in a midlife crisis. As the tale moves to a close and its storylines converge, Farrell’s personal dilemmas resolve in a burst of grace worthy of the mystery of life itself.
The Bramble and the Rose is a dark, blinding joy to read. Author Tom Bouman writes neither long nor frequently; when he does, he makes every sentence --- every word --- count. This newly published work, the third entry in his series, is impossible to put down when you start reading it and impossible to forget when you are finished ... Farrell has a life outside of law enforcement, and Bouman’s delicate and elaborate construction of this, which is beautifully described here, is as interesting as the quietly riveting murder investigation ... beautifully conceived and written from beginning to end. I do not know if there will be another Farrell novel, but it is my fervent hope that Bouman will revisit Wild Thyme, its inhabitants and the surrounding environs frequently and, if possible, often.
Bouman’s rural noir boasts a tantalizing premise but has difficulty sorting out the thriller component from the more ruminative literary elements ... After the intriguing opening, we get a long account of a wedding. A gripping interview with the medical examiner is followed by five pages of Farrell jawing on Mom and Dad’s porch. Some readers will savor the low-key prose that rises effortlessly to big moments. Others will wish there were more of those moments and less jawing.
Officer Henry Farrell is a native of Wild Thyme, a small town in the Endless Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, a region of great natural beauty whose denizens depend on struggling dairy farms, logging, stonecutting, and, more recently, fracking ... An elegant tale of an introspective detective whose life experiences have seared his soul without extinguishing his hope.
...somber ... Bad guys begin targeting Farrell, who impulsively goes on the run, and after a gun battle and other high-stakes confrontations finally gets some answers to a rather convoluted conspiracy. This rural noir starts out more convincingly than it ends.