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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
If there’s one thing undeniably true about A. Garrett, writing as The Black Rose, in this fifth book of The Killing Game Series, it’s that she is a master of words. She’s also a master of characterization, and it takes her kind of mastery to keep readers glued to the pages in a novel like The Lesser Evil, which is far more about the people than the plot. And that is exactly what superb literary fiction is; a character, not plot-driven story. Let’s clarify one thing from the start here: don’t pick up The Lesser Evil if you are looking for a relaxing read. It isn’t. In fact, this book will challenge you, make you think, and even question your own values and stance on political, moral and religious issues. In short, this is not a book that will appeal to everyone.
That said, once you begin reading, it’s near impossible to stop. To help readers unfamiliar with The Killing Game Series understand the story that has led to this book, the Black Rose provides a synopsis of the first four books to help readers understand how the protagonist, Ives Andrich, “the second most important man in the world” finds himself in Bavaria searching for his beloved wife, Allina, who drowned. Or did she? The bond and love between Ives and Allina is so strong that, when he is presented with a monumental and rather dangerous challenge by his host, Frederich Stultz, and is promised to be reunited with Allina if he agrees to the terms, his love and need for his wife forces him to accept. From that point on, readers, like Andrich, find themselves questioning everything, suspecting everyone and never feeling sure that anyone can be trusted.
The essence of this story, along with its plot, is revealed bit by bit through lengthy, heady conversations between Stultz and Andrich which take place over a mere three days. Yet, one gets the sense that much has happened, even though plot action is minimal. Does Ives Andrich rise to the challenge and master it? Is what he comes up with acceptable to those who will be affected by his suggested plans? And is the reward he has been promised awarded by the end of the novel? Well, remember, this is a series and as readers close the book, they will already be anticipating book number six. If you visit the author’s page at Amazon, be sure to check out the video updates she has posted. The Black Rose is not only a talented author, but a gifted film-maker and photographer. Her video trailer for The Lesser Evil will give you chills. Brilliant!