Author: Laura Schofer
Publisher: Hopes Point Press Ltd.
In the small suburban community of Hope's Point , Long Island something has gone horribly wrong. A series of arsons in landmark homes, now run down and over run by Latino immigrants, is destroying the community. Ellie Sinclair, is the troubled publisher of a small town newspaper struggling to make ends meet. The arsons are just another story until Ellie's estranged mother, Hortensia Borgias Sinclair returns to town and dies in the latest fire. Ellie wonders if it is destiny, as Hortensia always claimed, or something more insidious? Now Ellie must find out who is behind the arsons and why. She must shine a light in the dark places of her town – the slums and factories, where Latino immigrants struggle to make a life in suburban America. Then there is a larger mystery to be solved. All the women in Ellie's family are born with a small red birthmark on their left arm, a signature called the Fingerprint of Destiny. In a series of flashbacks interspersed throughout the novel, we learn about the violent fate of the other women in Ellie's family. These stories are filled with adventure, magic, murder, retribution, love, war and an obsession that spans the centuries and takes the reader from the jungles and plains of Venezuela to suburban Long Island. Can Ellie carve out a life for herself or will she succumb to the Fingerprint of Destiny? Editorial Reviews Review Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite In The Fingerprint of Destiny, Elena Borgias Sinclair is a struggling reporter and editor of The Hope's Point Gazette, a small-town newspaper. A series of landmark homes are destroyed by fire and the community believes that the Latino immigrants are the culprits. It is supposed to be just another arson and a story for Ellie to cover. Everything changes when she finds out that her estranged mother, Hortensia Borgias Sinclair, is one of the latest victims. It might be a destined fate as her mother often claimed, but Ellie suspects that there must be something more to it; something more sinister. She must find out who is the real arsonist and their reason for the crime. This gripping mystery tale is written by Laura Schofer. The Fingerprint of Destiny is a fascinating mystery with a protagonist who I couldn't get enough of. Author Laura Schofer has certainly got me intrigued with her story. While mystery fiction sometimes has a tendency to lose steam, it is definitely not the case here. Schofer's inside knowledge of journalism and the setting serves her well, and her skill in crafting page-turning scenarios also helps. She doesn't beat around the bush, thus making The Fingerprint of Destiny very well paced. Her no-frills prose lends itself well to this flawless tale because she just gets down to business without excessively long pauses while the characters examine their motives or engage in some pace-killing reflection. Overall, this is a marvelous read that kept me guessing and entertained until the very end. From the Author OnlineBookClub.org review written by HOLDONThere Elena Sinclair has a good nose. Yes, she's a reporter for a small-town newspaper on Long Island. But she doesn't just have a nose for news, she can actually smell emotion. And sometimes danger. Many scenes in The Fingerprint of Destiny mention smells. In the opening scene of the book, Elena approaches a house fire and can smell the fire (of course), but also "human scents of scorched old clothing and furniture and the fetid smell of something dead, rotten." Later, at a funeral, "the lobby smelled of aftershave and perfume, of soap and water and something else. ... It was relief, perhaps even joy. Death had passed them by." I mention this not because Elena's sense of smell is particularly important to the plot, but because it can give you a sense of how the book is written. Laura Schofer, the author, builds a scene with concrete details, and these blend smoothly into a revelation of the emotional and even spiritual dynamics at work in the scene ... which in turn move the plot. This blending of concrete and spiritual characterizes the book as a whole. The Fingerprint of Destiny is a book with two faces. One face is that of a typical fast-paced mystery / crime drama involving a hard-boiled detective (or, in this case, newspaper woman) who chases down the story, while running from the bad guys, all the while fueled by a substance addiction because she's near the end of her rope. I've read quite a few of those, and Fingerprint is a really well-done addition to the genre. The other face of Fingerprint is that of an epic tale of that follows generations of strong but ill-fated Latina women, weaving in all kinds of horror, mysticism, superstition, magic and madness. I'm not sure what to call this, but maybe it belongs in the "magical realism" genre. Anyway, I enjoyed those parts very much as well. The fact that Elena is haunted by her grandmothers' tragic history adds an emotional depth to the book that goes beyond many crime dramas. Nor is it stuck on awkwardly. The history of Elena, her mother, and her mother's mothers in Venezuela is woven together masterfully with the contemporary mystery unfolding in Long Island. The writing about Venezuelan culture seems authentic. Schofer, a Latina herself just like her main character, does a great job with the language aspect as well. You don't need to understand Spanish to read this book, but if you do happen to speak it, you'll enjoy the few lines of poetry from Cesar Vallejo that a character quotes (then immediately translates), and the few other phrases that get thrown in. Also, when Venezuelan characters speak English, the phrases and grammar sound like those that a Spanish speaker would choose. Very well done. I do have one problem with the book; namely, I thought that Schofer tipped her hand much too obviously about who the villain was going to turn out to be. I don't think this was intentional, but in my case, it happened to tip me off, so I did not get to enjoy the shock of "No! Really? It couldn't be!" that we are meant to experience in the final scenes of such a book. However, just because I figured out who the villain was, did NOT mean that I immediately understood everything that was going on. The book still held some questions, mysteries, and surprises. I give the book four out of four stars.