Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gin Phillips' newest novel Come In and Cover Me overcame that huge obstacle for authors--a second novel that stands on its own.  I had read The Well and the Mine, a gift from a friend, before discovering that several of my friends had ties to the author.  As I read this newest work, I never found myself returning to that first novel, so different are the two stories in setting, character, and plot.

This novel bears more similarities, in fact, to works of other writers whose books I admire.  Barbara Kingsolver and Ann Patchett come to mind. 

The protagonist of this novel Ren Taylor is a relatively young archeologist who established her professional reputation early in her career with the discovery in New Mexico of pottery by one particular Mimbres artist.  As the novel opens, she is alerted to discovery in a new dig of more work attributable to the same craftswoman, marked by the distinctive image of parrots.

This novel, far from being simply an archeological adventure, though, weaves together a love story and a ghost story.  Ren's brother Scott, who died when she was twelve, continues to appear to her, usually singing songs from his extensive music collection.  During this dig, she also begins to see members of the Mimbres tribe, including two females, one the pottery artist. Meanwhile, as Ren's relationship to one of her colleagues develops, she is reticent about her own past, while he is open with his. 

Phillips has artfully woven together an intriguing story with engaging characters, believable even with the supernatural elements. Readers move with Ren toward the discovery that ghosts may appear not of their own will but at our summons.

No comments: