Genre: Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
Review in a word: Engrossing
- How do people handle grief?
- How do you handle grief as a family?
- How do you define yourself?
Opening line: “The day Savannah was killed, she was fifteen minutes late to meet me.”
Cady’s identical twin was murdered when she was 16 years old, and Cady has been living in the shadow of that event ever since. Cady is now a self-described overweight novelist, whose grim mysteries have brought her quite a bit of fame. She feels stuck in an unhappy marriage to a bassoon-playing, yoga-loving psychologist, who—she’s convinced—only married her for her money.
All Cady has ever wanted was to find out who her sister’s killer was and get justice; it’s a mission that has obsessed her for most of her adult life. Now, when the local police chief resigns amid suspicion, the detective who was originally on the case decides to re-open it. Cady agrees to help with the investigation, and starts writing a new novel. Little does she know that the research for her next book will bring her closer to solving her own personal mystery.
I saw many of the same themes in this book as in Susan Strecker’s first novel, Night Blindness: guilt, family, justice, confession. A new element to this book was Cady’s intense self-loathing; she hates her body, and she feels completely lost without her sister—even after all of this time. This book was just as much about Cady learning to let go of the past and not let her sister define her, as it was about solving the mystery. I thought the plot was excellently written. The ending will probably surprise you—it surprised me!
My only complaint was a few cliches throughout the book that, for me, hampered the relatability of Cady’s character. For example, Cady visits a well known serial killer, Larry Cauchek, as part of her research, and you can’t help but notice how similar he is to Hannibal Lector’s character in Silence of the Lambs. You can practically hear him drawl “Cady” in the same way that Hannibal said, “Clarice.” Strecker acknowledges the comparison herself in the text, but it feels forced. Cady’s interviews with Cauchek amount to almost a spiritual experience for her, but I had a hard time connecting to her in those moments. It just felt inauthentic.
Overall, though, those moments were few and far between—for the most part, I found Cady a likable, authentic character.
Recommend? Sure. This book will certainly keep you occupied!
What I’m Reading Next:
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
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