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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Canaryville Bridge: An Urban Mystery by Paul Terrazino is a unique, thoroughly engrossing mystery involving searching for a birth mother and DNA. Based on true events, amateur sleuth Paul Terrazino helps his wife on her quest to find her biological mother, but it isn't easy since her mother adopted her out to a Chicago orphanage, then disappeared into the streets. Sixty years later, Paul is now an older man, but DNA has entered the modern world of investigation and identification, and he learns how to dig into records of all kinds, from immigration to death. Quite the character, he's a drinker of Irish whiskey, and his road to solving the birth-mother mystery brings some sad times as well as happiness, humor, and exasperation.
With a talent for storytelling and a hand for building plot, character, and enriching details, Terrazino brings you a mystery that builds on another with twists and plot points you won't see coming. The author sets the scene gradually, letting you get to know the backstory and situations. Then, when you find yourself caring about the characters and situations, he introduces the mystery and suspense, and you are all-in, finding yourself sleuthing with them along the way. I love his phrasing and the touching language he uses at times, like when he describes how his wife had a medical hole in her heart and an emotional one from not knowing her birth mother and her origins. He also has a knack for playing with words, like finding "a needle in a needle stack." I like how he describes his wife's personality and background. Some authors let the character reveal itself, but I'm equally fond of it being spelled out for me.
Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was learning about DNA and finding a birth parent. I like the characters' commitment during the grueling search and the surprises in the plot along the way. For a good mystery that immerses you in a story about real-life characters with purpose and heart, be sure to put Canaryville Bridge by Paul Terrazino on your must-read list.