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Emma Cyrus
Life Without Shoes: The First Father Ambrose Mystery
Emma Cyrus, author

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Publish)

It's late summer, and New Life Ecumenical Retreat is anticipating the Fall harvest. One orchard of peaches is already coming on. Father Ambrose and his fellow residents are ready for non-stop preparation, packaging and delivery - work that takes them right up 'til New Years' and brings in most of their revenue. One Saturday morning, a stranger dumps a body in the pear orchard nearest the main buildings. Father Ambrose and Sheriff Charlie Cormley bring two different worldviews to the problem of murder, but both of them want New Life protected from deep incursions by the outside world. The forces of greed, fear, manipulation and religious intolerance have conspired to end the victim's life and link New Life to the corpse. Father Ambrose is pulled into his own version of sleuthing because, above all, he seeks Truth.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 5 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 5 out of 10
Overall: 6.00 out of 10


Plot: Life Without Shoes is a well-plotted mystery with strong forward momentum and a scrupulous focus on police procedural elements.

Prose: Cyrus's prose is solidly engaging with realistic descriptions and a clear sense of place; dialogue, however, can be lacking in expressiveness.

Originality: Cyrus's novel is well anchored in classic works of detective fiction; while there are familiar elements at play, her narrative features freshness through its carefully crafted details.

Character Development: The story's plot-driven focus can leave readers with an indistinct sense of the characters' emotional and psychological states, though they otherwise operate soundly within the narrative arc.


Date Submitted: April 04, 2018