by Joanne Fluke
Published by Kensington
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
5 / 5
When you read as much smut as I do (and bless you, Tiffany Reisz, Sylvia Day, Jessica Hawkins, and others for the services you provide), you occasionally need a bit of a palate cleanser, which for me comes in the form of mysteries. I love a good mystery, even when they make me feel dumb for not anticipating whodunit (and I’m looking at YOU, Dangerous Girls). Let me just say that this book rattled my chains a whole, whooooole lot.
When Dan takes his young daughter on a routine snow mobile ride, neither he nor his wife Marian anticipate anything other than Dan and Laura returning home, full of raucous stories about the fun they had. So when the police show up in Marian’s driveway, she knows something horrific has occurred. Horrific, indeed: Laura is dead and Dan is paralyzed.
Marian and Dan survive their grief in different ways, and while Dan knows that his paralysis is a burden, he nonetheless worries about Marian. She will sit in Laura’s room and weep. Marian also gets liquored up at a party and does something stupid, and while Dan is angry with her, he knows that the snow mobile accident renders him somewhat mute when it comes to judgment. He tries to assuage Marian’s grief as best he can, but he soon discovers that his efforts are a terrible idea.
Meanwhile, the residents in their small Minnesota town appear besieged: more children start to die, more neighbors. Was that snow mobile accident truly an accident, or is there a serial killer in their midst?
Dan thinks he knows who the killer is, but is he right? Or do he and Marian have to understand that just because they want something to be true does not mean that it actually is?
Let me just tell you that the ending will give you chills. And not just because it occurs in the midst of a Minnesota winter. Chills, people. CHILLS.
Joanne Fluke crafts an excellent mystery. In fact, this is as much a character study as a mystery, which is one of Fluke’s strengths as a writer. She lets her story unfold slowly and carefully, and if it feels too slow at the start, perhaps it’s because we readers need to understand the numbing grief of Dan and Marian. We get to know their friends and coworkers, and we feel the immeasurable sadness that envelops them as they attempt to resume their lives after Laura’s death. As the body count rises, the pacing amps up in intensity, and we feel their terror, especially Dan’s when he believes he knows who’s behind the deaths.
An excellent mystery.