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Haunted Ground
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About the Author

Erin Hart is a theater critic and former administrator at the Minnesota State Arts Board. A lifelong interest in Irish traditional music led her to cofound Minnesota's Irish Music and Dance Association. She and her husband, musician Paddy O'Brien, live in St. Paul, Minnesota, and frequently visit Ireland. Erin Hart was nominated for the Agatha and Anthony Awards for her debut novel, Haunted Ground, and won the Friends of American Writers Award in 2004. Visit her website at ErinHart.com.

Reviews

Hart's complex debut novel weaves together various cultures and time periods into one suspenseful literary offering. Irish farmer Brendan McGann unearths the head of a flame-haired woman, but owing to the preservation of the body, it is not known how long it has been in the peat bog. Archaeologist Cormac O'Callaghan, detective Garret Devaney, and American anatomist Nora Gavin work together to discover the woman's identity and her cause of death. As these characters interact, they become involved in another mystery: local inn owner Hugh Osborne is suspected in the disappearance of his young Indian wife, Mina, and their son. Jennifer McMahon's dialectic inflections (Irish brogue, American and Indian accents) require getting used to and can be distracting when trying to grasp the story's numerous details and unfolding plots. Overall, Haunted Ground is suitable for public library collections, but it is not an essential purchase.-Nicole A. Cooke, Montclair State Univ. Lib., NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Cutting turf in the peat bogs of his Ireland farm, Brendan McGann occasionally finds old oak beams, oxcarts or tubs of butter and cheese buried ages ago and forgotten. But he's hardly prepared for the gruesome discovery he makes one pleasant April morning: the perfectly preserved head of a woman. So begins Hart's debut thriller, which follows archeologist Cormac Maguire, maverick local detective Garret Devaney, and Nora Gavin, an American anatomist lecturing at Trinity College Medical School, as they investigate the farmer's grisly finding, which could date back quite far, given that peat bogs can preserve bodies for centuries. Cormac and Nora stay in the house of Hugh Osborne, the owner of a decaying manor who also happens to be the prime suspect in the unsolved disappearance of his wife and infant son two years ago. The accommodations are not quite the Ritz. Osborne's dour cousin, Lucy Osborne, is the housekeeper, and her son, 17-year-old Jeremy, who drinks too much, also lurks around the estate. Nora finds a filthy, dead crow on her bed, as well as broken glass littering her bathroom floor. What's going on in this malevolent household? In addition to a complex, multilayered plot that involves both contemporary and historical crimes, Hart's novel is rich in local color: evenings at the pub, the petty feuds and jealousies of the townspeople and the traditional music and folk culture of Ireland are evocatively rendered. Agent, Sally Wofford-Girand. 3-city author tour. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Spooky and compelling...does for Galway what Sharyn McCrumb does for Appalachia."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"Out of the Irish mist and into the ancient bogs, Erin Hart spins a dark tale of gothic suspense fused with modern forensics. This bright new talent lays bare all the buried bones in a murderous tale of intrigue and betrayal."
-- Linda Fairstein, author of Entombed
"In Haunted Ground, the past is not buried underground, it lives and breathes. Erin Hart's beguiling debut novel probes the mysterious connections between the dead and living in a moody Irish song of innocent blood, shattered hearts, and life's unquenchable flow."
-- Perri O'Shaughnessy, author of Unlucky in Law
"Hart writes with a lovely eloquence about how character is shaped by the music, the architecture, and the history of this harsh and beautiful land."
-- The New York Times Book Review

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