Architect of Courage, by Victoria Weisfeld [Review]

“A complex plot that will captivate readers and keep them riveted to the very end.”

Victoria Weisfeld lives in my town, and after reading a local newspaper article about her first novel, I had to give it a read. I enjoyed this book, which has a complex plot that will captivate readers and keep them riveted to the very end. The best thing about the read is the wonderful prose Ms. Weisfeld provides. Here are a few examples: “His last words disappeared into the void where feelings go do drown.” . . . “He pushed those thoughts into a corner of his mind and doused them with scotch.” . . . “Nearly two hundred people assembled to enjoy this perfect bite of summer’s goodness.” The writing here is exquisite and a pleasure to read.

Who knew that architecture could be such an exciting and dangerous profession? Not since Howard Roark have we seen an architect whose adventures raised so many issues of personal accountability and courage. Our hero here, Archer Landis, faces personal tragedy and professional calamity while dealing with his own marital infidelity and moral ambiguity. When he finds his young mistress murdered in her apartment (which is the first scene, so not a spoiler), he flees the scene, not wanting to be associated with the crime or linked to his lovely subordinate. The remainder of the story circles around the questions of who killed Julie, and why, and who Julie really is and how she came to be in a position where anyone would want to kill her. Archer’s adventures are aided by his earthy Irish attorney and a private investigator from the law firm and include travels to Spain and Belgium as he follows his compulsion to avenge Julia’s death, or at least reveal her killer. The twists and mysteries that arise along the way are plentiful and keep the action level and tension up throughout. There are several twists at the end that will surprise readers as all the loose ends are tied up in exciting fashion.

There are a few elements of the plot that stretch logical reality and a few things that appear prominently without seeming to play a role in the ultimate story. There is perhaps a bit more than normal need to suspend disbelief to ride along through the entire plot, but the pacing and writing quality of the book allows you to overlook these issues and enjoy the story, which is ultimately about Archer’s inner struggle as much as any physical confrontations.

I can recommend this as a suspenseful and entertaining read peppered with thought-provoking situations. It’s a commendable first novel and I look forward to more from Ms. Weisfeld.

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