‘No News Is Bad News’ In a Maine Town Where Murder Brings People Together

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No News is Bad News by Maine Mystery Writer Maureen Milliken

No News is Bad News
By Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken is a former journalist, most recently as city editor of the Morning Sentinel in Waterville, Maine, a former columnist for the Sentinel, the Kennebec Journal and their website, centralmaine.com, and has more than 30 years under her belt at daily newspapers in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, including the New Hampshire Union Leader. She now devotes her time to mystery writing.

By Monica Drahonovsky

This book has been indelibly etched into my brain.  Why?  Do you know the difference between being a common everyday sleuth and an investigative reporter?  A sleuth tries to uncover hidden information by any means and an investigative reporter is hindered by a slew of conditions, codes, honor and a dedicated decision to find out the real truth without invention. What?

Monica Drahonovsky

Monica Drahonovsky

They have to know the difference between intent and malicious mistake. They have to know about where to look for public records, HIPPA rules, mental fatigue and stress, truth and honor and the American way.   They need hard facts, not opinions.

We are also privy to the ongoing world of print newspapers and their demise and how reporters are struggling with how important it is to get stories out to citizens.  Change is hard.  Change is happening all the time.  It doesn’t make it easier, but it is interesting to see how it affects the readers of the world’s newspapers.  I think the challenge will be met, explored and the investigative reporter’s will succeed.

I have just been to Maine in small town with people just like me and you.  We are all doing the best we can to maintain our little worlds, but within the boundaries of the larger law and order.   I have learned that police, law enforcement agents of any kind are the beginning of long and entangled brushes with courts and laws.

No one should speak with one of these agents without a lawyer at their side.  It is our right as citizens to be perceived innocent. Cops need to follow the dots to connect victims and criminals, but they are not our friends. The most elemental thing to remember as we navigate our daily lives is that shit happens and at any time your personal innocence can be questioned.

Maureen Milliken delves into every aspect of ordinary people struggling to be relevant.  The people populating this small Maine town are likable, interesting and real.  We learn about guns, hunting, mental health issues, drugs and criminals.  They take on a patina that hides flaws and covers scars.

Who is hiding and what comes to light make this the most interesting “who dunnit” that I have read in a long time?  Bernie O’Dea is fearless within a family of overachievers that keep her close and she keeps far away.  Pete, the cop, is needy but strong.  Sal is a soft touch, and all of the town’s people know everything and nothing at the same time.  Natalie ties it all together and you will love her.  Eli is an old gangbanger with a conscience and Carrie is everyone’s daughter just out of college.  Your world collides with their world.

Plagiarism is a theme as well as our old friendly nightmare – drugs.  Lawyers have their place as does the small college that might have a spot for Sal.  There are good people falling all over themselves in this book and, of course, we have domestic abuse rearing its ugly head.  The kitchen sink and an organic turkey show up just in time for a blizzard.

It is not a book to skim read.  You will need your total thought processing skills working at full tilt.  Years come and go.   The writer uses this device to clarify history of time, places and characters and how they lead and explain the present, which is 2009. You will love this book and not want to put it down.

Monica Drahonovsky reviews books for InDepthNH.org. Monica is known for her love of history and her lifelong love for reading. She has a bachelor’s degree in History, with a minor in English. “My years of reading for leisure and pleasure have given me the insight to read a book and analyze the author’s baggage, cargo and ability to write the language of his/her mind and utilize the gift of prose to educate and entertain the reader. Go get a book, read it and enjoy the adventure.” Contact Monica at mawest@tds.net


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