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Mara Purl's debut novel hits the ground running. First there's the built-in audience: her hit radio series Milford-Haven, U.S.A. had four and a half million listeners on the BBC.
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Review by Joyce Seed
Second there's the fact that American audiences are picking up on the story in two ways - the audio cassettes which sell in museum shops across the U.S.,
and the new web site, which is not just an info-site, but rather a full-fledged cyber-soap - the only one with an actual broadcast history.
Then there's the opening chapter, which places the reader at the scene of an eerie crime, as intrepid female journalist Chris Christian responds to a tip from
her anonymous phone source, Purl's version of "Deep Throat", known only as "Mr. Man."
Purl uses environmental issues as her tapestry - saving whales, oil spills, fraudulent construction practices, and the encroachment of new development upon
the pristine setting. She then ensnares her characters in both complicated issues, and cross-references relationships.
With skill the author transports the reader through a tangled web of sub-plots and relationships. Samantha Hugo as head of the Environmental Planning
Commission faces off with corrupt builder Jack Sawyer - but he's also her ex-husband; Zackery Calvin falls in love with wildlife painter Miranda Jones -
but he works for an oil company. Chris Christian pursues a story about the corporate ownership of a house under construction - but the CEO has ties to oil interests.
Purl is adept at conveying vivid images of her California coastal setting, and also shows a special gift for vernacular expression, - transplanted Arkansian
Sally O'Mally's homespun lingo flies off her tougue faster than the grits fly off her skillet.
The juxtaposition of current issues with the entanglements of complex love affairs and relationships flows as the lifeblood through What The Heart Knows
- and very likely, will add to its circulation.