Friday, May 01, 2015

Compelling Mystery Would Have Benefited From Subtlety, Tighter Structure

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Ridgedale, an idyllic New Jersey college town, has its share of minor crimes.  Break-ins, domestic squabbles, robberies, etc. aren't uncommon, but murder?  In the last two decades, there have been only two.  When the body of a dead baby is found in a wooded area on university property, it appears as though that stat may be changing.  Cause of death will take some time to determine, but in the meantime, everyone has a theory.  

As a reporter for the local newspaper, Molly Sanderson covers the fun, artsy side of Ridgedale.  Focusing on lively arts/lifestyle/human interest stories has helped lift her out of the oppressive grief she's felt ever since the loss of her own child.  It's only a fluke that she's assigned the story of the newborn's death, but Molly's determined to find out what happened to the infant.  Even if it kills her.

The more clues Molly uncovers, the more sinister the story becomes.  Ridgedale may look like a peaceful little hamlet where nothing bad ever happens, but she's beginning to see the truth—the townspeople are keeping some pretty dark secrets.  Unlocking them will put everything Molly holds dear at risk.  It may even cost her her sanity or, worse, her life.

Where They Found Her, Kimberly McCreight's sophomore novel (Reconstructing Amelia was her debut), tells a chilling, suspenseful story about a grieving mother's desperate search for redemption.  The sorrow and guilt that plague Molly make her a sympathetic character, one with whom it's easy to identify.  As for the supporting cast, they all seem pretty stereotypical and bland.  Plotwise, Where They Found Her has a clumsy, choppy structure.  While some of its twists are well-crafted, others seem to come totally out of left field.  The novel could definitely benefit from tighter plot structure and more subtlety.  Although it's depressing, Where They Found Her is a compelling novel.  It kept me turning pages, but in the end, I just didn't love it.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for strong language, violence, sexual content, and depictions of underage drinking and illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of Where They Found Her from the generous folks at HarperCollins via those at NetGalley.  Thank you!   

3 comments:

  1. Well at least it was a page turner. I've had very few of those lately.

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  2. I want to read this one, love the premise but I'm glad I'm forewarned about the bland secondary characters and not sure I'll like the twists that come out of the blue.

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  3. I have this one, but haven't read it yet. It's a bummer that the story wasn't as structured as it could have been. This wasn't super high on my TBR list, and now I'm not sure I will bother. Thanks for the honest review!

    ReplyDelete

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