Saturday, May 30, 2020

Missing Persons Thriller Engrossing, But Unsatisfying

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

In a quaint Indiana community, 3-year-old Alice Fine was kidnapped from her front yard.  Luckily, she was rescued less than 24 hours later by her policeman father.  Although Alice was not hurt in the ordeal, the family was traumatized enough to remove themselves to Illinois in an attempt to put it all behind them.  Although she has not accomplished a lot in the three decades since her abduction, Alice is passionate about her work with the Doe Pages, a website that encourages amateur sleuths to study missing persons cases with the goal of finding the lost, giving their families closure, and bringing criminals to justice.

On one of her frequent website searches, Alice is shocked when a photograph of her abductor flashes on the screen.  Although it's deleted almost immediately, Alice can't forget what she's seen.  With the help of other Doe Pages devotees, she launches her own investigation into the man's identity.  When she meets another woman, 30-year-old Merrily Cruz, who is searching for the same man, the two form a tenuous partnership.  Who is the man they seek?  As they set about answering that question, both will discover shocking secrets, lies, and deceptions that will change everything they know about themselves and each other.

I love me a good psychological thriller and Lori Rader-Day has written several that I've really enjoyed.  The Lucky One—her latest—is, however, a bit of an exception.  The characters are almost entirely unlikeable.  Our "heroines" are hot messes, who are immature, unambitious, self-centered, and just not all that appealing.  Plotwise, the story starts off slowly, carefully building up the tension and suspense.  Unfortunately, a rushed ending spoils the effect, leading to a disappointing finale that left me with lots of questions.  The story is unfailingly depressing but also undeniably engrossing, including some twists I didn't see coming.  Overall, though, it just didn't come together well enough to satisfy me.  All things considered, The Lucky One was just an average read for me.

(Readalikes:  Um, nothing is coming readily to mind.  You?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


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

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Lucky One from the generous folks at William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins).  Thank you!

6 comments:

  1. Hmmm...I have really enjoyed other books by this author and I have this one to read. However, I'll wait a bit. Don't think I can handle 'unrelentingly depressing' right now. LOL

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    Replies
    1. Psychological thrillers are almost always depressing, but some are more so than others!

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  2. A rushed ending and unlikable characters? I think I'll pass. Which other books of hers did you really like?

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    Replies
    1. My favorite of hers is UNDER A DARK SKY. I also liked LITTLE PRETTY THINGS. Unfortunately, Rader-Day's novels are kind of hit and miss for me.

      Delete
  3. I'm so sorry to see this one doesn't deliver. I really enjoyed Under a Dark Sky.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. UNDER A DARK SKY is the first one I read by Rader-Day. I haven't found a book of hers I like better, although I did like LITTLE PRETTY THINGS.

      Delete

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