I picked this up for a dollar at the library sale. I try not to look at the books offered there because I could spend serious money even at bargain prices. This happened to be standing up on display, and temptation won out.
Since it's the first of a series, I'm guessing the individual main characters will be featured again, and some of the issues left hanging at the end of this will be further explored.
The three main characters, American Nora Gavin and the Irish Cormac Maguire and Garrett Devaney, are complex and interesting, with personal histories and hang-ups that make them real. I wanted to know more about them, to discover how they dealt with the issues raised in this novel. It was a measure of Hart's skill that she created people I genuinely cared about.
The plot was also complex and interesting. It begins with the discovery in a peat bog of the well-preserved head of a young woman, but quickly involves the disappearance of a contemporary woman, the wife of a local landowner. Unfortunately for me, the secondary characters came across as much less well developed, to the point of caricature.
It was the cardboard nature of the supporting cast that pulled this down from a five to a four-and-a-half star read. The second half-star loss came from the contrived and almost unbelievable solution to one of the mysteries. So unbelievable, in fact, that I wasn't even interested enough after reading it to go back and figure out why they needed to bring in heavy equipment.
The archaeological aspects are fascinating, especially because, like Cormac Maguire, I was fascinated by the discovery of Tollund Man.
Hart's style is a bit dry, with a lot more narrative than dialogue or action, but this is a quiet mystery about people, not about open violence and threats of violence.
I just wish the ending had been worthy of its build-up, but still a good read.,