Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Book Review: UNTIL I MET HER

Title: Until I Met Her
Author: Natalie Barelli
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Pages: 288






The vilest fictional antagonists, I’ve discovered, aren’t the flashy ones with a laugh that makes your bones shiver. The vilest fictional villains are people like Emma Fern, who try to convince you of their helplessness and niceness, while being anything but.

Until I Met Her by Natalie Barelli begins with a funeral. Famous crime writer Beatrice Johnson Greene is dead and Emma Fern, the young writer she took under her wing, is inconsolable.

Oddly, as Emma herself admits, it was she who killed Beatrice.

Emma owned a niche home décor store into which Beatrice had walked in. A diehard fan of Beatrice, Emma is soon elevated to the ranks of Beatrice’s friend and protégé, thanks to a favour she did her. Beatrice offers to mentor Emma on the writing and completion of her novel.

The attention does wonders to Emma’s confidence, inspiring her to write her own book. Until then, Emma has been under the shadow of her economist-husband, Jim, who is working on a revolutionary economic model.

One day, Beatrice asks Emma to publish a novel she has written in her name. Her reasoning is that being a bestselling author of crime thrillers typecasts her; her literary novel should not be snuffed out by the critics. A little like JK Rowling did as Robert Galbraith.

However, Beatrice wants a real person to publish the book and handle the publicity, in return for which she is willing to split the royalties by half. The two women write and sign their contracts on two cocktail napkins, one for each of them. Emma publishes the book, Long Grass Running, in her own name.

Very soon, she is lauded as a literary voice and her books begin to sell, and both Emma and Beatrice are pleased at the success of their scheme and the royalties pouring in. When Emma is shortlisted for the prestigious Poulton Prize, Beatrice believes that it is time to own up to the scheme they initiated. But Emma is not ready to give up the life she sees as her own now. 

The only thing that could out her is the cocktail napkin.
Emma kills Beatrice and retrieves the napkin and so begins a web of lies and deceit that she spins to keep anyone from getting close to her secret.


Since we know at the start that Emma has killed Beatrice, it is no surprise. What we get to see is how quickly Emma’s life comes dangerously close to unraveling.

The book is written in the first person present tense point of view of Emma. Only the flashbacks, from the time Beatrice walks into Emma’s store to the time of her death, are in past tense.

Emma isn’t very likeable, even at first, and as she begins to copy Beatrice’s look and mannerisms, she becomes horribly distasteful. With her subsequent actions, as she seeks to cover up her tracks, she falls even lower in our estimation.

As a character, she has her own complexities. Aching for her husband’s approval and respect, she struggles with her suspicion of her husband’s on-off affair with his ex-student Allison.

Emma says, My entire existence was a balancing act between being desirable enough that he would love me, but not so needy or dependent that I’d drive him away. This balancing act is emblematic of all her relationships.


The publication of Long Grass Running gives her the validation she craves. Holding the book in her hands, she thinks, What is real has a weight, what is imaginary does not… The earth only pulls to her what has substance.



This book isn’t a whodunit. And we get to know pretty early why Emma acted as she did. What we see unfolding in this book is how Emma degenerates further, wiping off the opposition, hiding her tracks. Willing to stop at nothing to protect her insecurities in the personal and professional sphere.

Since almost no one knows about her crime, it is up to us, as readers, to feel the shock and horror of her actions.

I rooted for Emma to get caught, to be find out. I can’t remember the last time I’ve disliked a character so, and this is her first person PoV, mind you.

So Book 1 ended with her at the pinnacle of her success. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to Book 2.


(I read a Kindle edition of this book through NetGalley.)


Monday, July 24, 2017

Book Review: CHANGELING (ORDER OF DARKNESS, #1)

Title: Changeling (Order of Darkness, #!)
Author: Philippa Gregory
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 256






I love historical fiction, particularly that set in the Middle Ages. And that is why, Changeling, set in 1433, and opening in Castle Sant Angelo in Rome, appealed to me. But sadly, despite the promise, this one went all over the place and failed to hold my interest.

Luca Vero, a 17-year-old novice at a monastery, has been expelled and charged with heresy for insisting that the relic in the possession of the monastery, a nail from the true Cross, is a fake. Luca is afraid that he will be tortured to death by the Inquisition. Instead, the Inquisition tells him that he is assigned to seek knowledge.

These are exciting times. The Ottoman empire has taken over Constantinople, the heart of the Byzantine empire, and the Pope believes that the end times, when Christ will come to judge the living and the dead, are coming.

Meanwhile, at the Castle of Lucretili, 17-year-old Isolde is told by her brother, Giorgio, that their dead father has disinherited her and that she must either become a nun or marry a lecherous old man, who he has chosen. Isolde chooses to enter the nunnery.

Luca sets out on his quest, accompanied by Frieze, the kitchen lad, and Brother Peter, a clerk ordered to keep a record of their work. He is assigned to investigate the strange and dangerous events taking place at the nunnery, where nuns are seeing visions, sleepwalking, and experiencing the stigmata.

The Dominican friars want to control the nunnery. It upsets the priests there to think of women making decisions for themselves. In addition, the nuns are panning for gold in a stream on the castle lands and Frieze and Luca are determined to find out who will gain. The sense of intrigue increases, just as the needle of suspicion points to the Lady Abbess and her Moorish childhood friend, Ishraq.

The third person narration hints at Isolde’s and Ishraq’s complicity in something, but that part is not resolved properly.

Once Luca and party solve this mystery, they, accompanied by Isolde and Ishraq, for as silly a reason as safety of travelling together, go off to another village, riding on stolen horses. There they encounter villagers who have captured a werewolf that has been terrorizing them. Frieze befriends the beast, even as the village prepares to kill it. The resolution of this mystery is utterly lame.

On paper, Luca starts out as character with potential. We are told that he is good with numbers, and is intelligent, capable of learning new languages and speaking them fluently. However, he does not demonstrate these skills through the course of the book. Incidentally, he is the Changeling of the book. He was found by his parents, and adopted in place of the child they lost. 

For a character who speaks out against the deceit being practised in the church, his views are surprisingly traditional. He says, God gave men the rule over everything… At the creation of the world. 


He believes that the reason for the trouble at the nunnery is that These women lived in a community as if men did not exist, as if God had not created men to be their masters.

As a character, Frieze was far better than Luca, Isolde and Ishraq. He is depicted as a goofball who flirts with Ishraq and the cook. A foolish boy who still makes you think. He says of the word, fool, Easy to say, hard to prove. He gets the cob to stop neighing after he whispers to it.


I noticed that Frieze had the best lines. It is he who notices that the Lady Almoner, though a nun, wears silk petticoats, that rustle when she walks. He says, More than one way to make inquiry. Don’t have to be able to write to be able to think. Sometimes it helps to just listen.


In another instance, he says, You can always tell a pretty girl by the way she walks. A pretty girl walks like she owns the world.


Though the banter between Luca and Frieze was amusing, I didn’t think that Luca and Frieze made a good team. I thought Frieze would have been better off on his own. Of course, Luca arrived at the conclusions, but that was because he had the authority. Actually, it was Frieze who drew Luca’s attention to the facts and helped him make those connections.

There were a couple of errors that made things worse. The Inquisitor tells Luca that the Zero was invented by Moors. As facts go, the zero was invented by the Babylonians, the Mayans and the Indians.

The author talks about the political issues at play, the egos of men in authority, but we don’t get to see much of this.

In using the itinerant style of adventure for the protagonists, the author runs the risk of losing her hold on the pace of each of the adventures. None hold our interest.

The author should have either written a story about the clash of truth and superstition, or written a paranormal story about werewolves. Attempting to fuse the two works badly. The book spends the first half, seemingly decrying superstition, and the second half, encouraging it. We actually see a little four-legged animal metamorphose into a little boy.


At the end of it, it seems as if an idea that was good enough for a short story has been stretched across a novel. 


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Book Review: THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT

Title: The Night the Lights Went Out
Author: Karen White
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 418





A lot can happen on The Night the Lights Went Out. In this case, it literally pushed the action forward, which until then was ambling along at an extremely slow pace.

Set in Sweet Apple, Georgia, the heart of the American South, this is the story of Merilee Talbot Dunlap and Sugar Prescott, whose lives have more in common than they imagine at first glance.

Merilee is moving house along with her kids, 10-year-old Lily and 8-year-old Colin. Her husband, Michael, has had an affair with their daughter’s teacher, leading to their divorce.

Merilee rents a cottage belonging to Sugar Prescott, the 93-year-old owner of a huge property. Sugar is determined not to befriend Merilee, to keep her distance.

At her kids’ new school, Merilee meets the other mothers. None are as friendly as the tall and sinewy Heather Blackford, the class mother who goes out of her way to cultivate a friendship with Merilee.

As Merilee struggles to make sense of her new reality, she finds help in Sugar, and in architect-cum-handyman Wade Kimball, the grandson of Sugar’s best friend.

Meanwhile, her every movement is watched and reported by a new blog, The Playing Fields Blog where somebody who is identified as Your Neighbour offers Observations of Suburban Life from Sweet Apple, Georgia. What that translates into is gossip, but there are also some very valid observations and learning.

Slowly Merilee and Sugar build a friendship, and the younger woman begins to rely increasingly on Sugar’s ability to hold her together when she is almost falling apart. Sugar too finds herself warming up to Merilee and her children, even though she has no experience of children.

Her friendship with Heather also intensifies, until it all comes apart on the night of a fund-raising gala, when Heather’s husband, Dr Daniel Blackford, who had been seen to offer his friendship (and more?) to Merilee, is found dead, with one of Merilee’s shoes found next to his body.

Did Merilee kill Dr Daniel Blackford or is she being framed? And if so, will she able to prove her innocence? That’s the story.

The story was written from the 3rd person past tense point of view of Sugar, back in 1934 and now, and Merilee now. These chapter alternated with posts from the blog.

The blog itself had a very pleasant style, and even though nobody has any right to write about other people’s lives under the cloak of anonymity, the posts made for interesting reading. I liked the blog posts for their ability to connect seemingly unconnected things. 

The style was genial, infused with Southern warmth and Old World comfort, while emphasizing the Southern way of asking questions, carefully prodding like a doctor on a sore spot.


The Southern phrases that peppered the posts were a treat.

Sample these: You can’t tell the size of the turnips by looking at their tops.
It’s fixin’ to come up a bad cloud.
You can put your boots in the oven, but that don’t make ’em biscuits.
You’re driving your chickens to the wrong market.
One day you’re the peacock, and the next you’re the feather duster.


Whether you can relate to the imagery or not, the meaning is clear and requires no explanation. Even so, I loved the explanation that the blogger offered, as well as the striking use of Bless his/her heart, the great insult couched in a euphemism.

Of the characters, I liked Sugar more. The descriptions in her chapters were rich with detail. Her memories were beautiful, and the stories that come tumbling out of her past give us a better understanding of why she is the way she is today. Sugar decides she would never love anything again that she couldn’t bear to lose.


Reading her account helps us to understand her belief in karma and how not everything that is broken can be fixed. It is also a reminder of how time changes things. Maybe time was more covert, slowly spooling the years until there was no thread left behind you and all that remained was a stranger’s face in the mirror.


For her age, Sugar does have a fabulously detailed memory, which would have been fine since it is in 3rd person. But when it appears that Sugar is sharing these stories with Merilee, it begins to feel unreal.

I found Merilee rather silly. First, she doesn’t have a passcode for her phone, then, at Wade’s insistence, she sets it at 1111, and tells everyone about it. Also, despite knowing that champagne affects her, she still drinks on the night of the fund-raising gala. I hoped such stupidity wouldn’t come back to bite her. But, of course, it did.

It is in the interactions of Sugar and Merilee that the story begins to grow on you. Some unspoken agreement that their scar patterns might fit together like pieces to a puzzle refers to Merilee and Wade, but it could as well refer to her and Sugar.


Merilee has never had a good relationship with her very toxic and unsupportive parents, and Sugar fills that gap. Their friendship grows as Sugar sees herself in Merilee, in their secretiveness, their relationships with their mothers, their closeness with their brothers and their anxiety that they have let them down.


A pretty good read.

(I got a free ARC from FirstToRead).


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Book Review: I SEE YOU

Title: I See You
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Publisher: Berkley Books
Pages: 372






I opted to read this book because the title sounded intriguing. I thought it would be about a creepy stalker, and of course it was. But the larger premise was completely silly and faulty.

The book is written in the first person present tense point of view of Zoe Walker, a working woman and divorced single mother, and the third person past tense point of view of cop Kelly Swift. 

We also have the chilling first person present tense point of view of the predator in italics. The short chapters from the PoV of the predator were intriguing, as he slowly let out bits of his modus operandi.

Zoe lives with her grown children, Justin and Katie, and her lover, Simon, a senior journalist. The opening chapter from Zoe’s viewpoint describes her daily routine and habits to us in slow and endless detail, but somebody, it seems, already knows these details about her.

Zoe sees her photo in an advertisement in a newspaper. It appears to be an ad for dating services, but Zoe has no idea what her picture might be doing there. The picture is accompanied by a website address, findtheone.com, and a number, which isn’t a telephone number.

Detective Kelly, who is a cop with the British Tube Transport, has her own past. Her twin sister was raped in college, but while her twin has put the rape behind her and settled in happy domesticity with her husband and sons, Kelly blames herself for not having been able to save her, for not having found her rapist and booked him for the crime.

While Zoe’s family dismisses her fears, she remains convinced that something more sinister is afoot. She takes her fears to Kelly, who, sensing the commonalities with the cases of certain other women whose photos also appeared in ads on other days, recognizes the danger to Zoe. 

The fact that her twin sister was once sexually assaulted makes Kelly more prone to trauma, more sympathetic to victims of sexual assaults.

Kelly cracks the code in the ad and learns the modus operandi of the devious stalker.

For a fee, he allows subscribers to have access to the routine and other personal details of women. Subscribers can then use that information to do whatever they want with the women, whether their intentions be pleasant or otherwise.

Reading the stalker’s PoV helped me realize the importance of changing my habits occasionally, of not being a creature of habit. As he says, Routine is comforting to you. It’s familiar, reassuring. Routine makes you feel safe. Routine will kill you.


In each update, the stalker describes the routine of a different woman in scary detail. Gradually, all the women who are featured in the advertisements become victims of some form of attack. Tania Beckett is killed. Cathy Tanning has her keys stolen and her home broken into.

As Zoe join the dots, she begins to experience panic attacks for her own safety and that of her daughter. She is convinced that her own life is in danger, but the police don’t take her seriously. Nor do Simon and the kids. Only Melissa, her friend and next door neighbor, is alarmed to hear of Zoe’s fears.

When Katie takes up a gig as an unpaid actor for a Shakespearean play, Zoe becomes suspicious of her director. She also begins to doubt the intentions of Simon, who, she realizes, has lied to her in the past. It all comes to a head when Zoe sees a man following her.

Are her fears a figment of her imagination or is someone really out to harm her? Will the police nab the mystery stalker before Zoe or Katie get seriously hurt?

That's the basic plot.



The author has tried hard to make the characters real by giving them real issues. For instance, Kelly has severe anger management issues and has assaulted a prisoner in the past.

But the effort doesn’t help. All the characters, including Zoe and Kelly, Katie, Justin, Melissa, and her husband, Neil, and Zoe’s boss, Graham, are utterly flat and boring.

The stalker, when revealed, was utterly unmenacing. The rationale for why the stalker was putting up the women’s details online was ridiculous, making the twist, when it comes, appear lame and pathetic. It was a bit like the act of setting a house on fire to take out a rat.

While the stalker is killed in a physical altercation with Zoe, it is not the end of Zoe’s troubles. The book ends with a relieved Zoe, blissfully ignorant of the fact that the stalker was only a willing tool and that the real mastermind of the website is very much alive and plotting his next move.

Oddly, the author doesn't appear to be writing the sequel, even though the ending gives us the impression that one might be coming.

By the time I came to the last page, I was ready to scream. Because if the stalker’s identity was unbelievable, that of the real mastermind was even more impossible to give credence to.

An extract of a review printed at the top of the very interesting all-blue cover page described the book as “(a) deliciously creepy tale of urban paranoia.”

Urban paranoia was fine, but deliciously creepy? No way.

In sum, not a book I’d recommend at all.

(I got a free ARC from FirstToRead).




Friday, July 07, 2017

Book Review: THE DARK ROAD

Title: The Dark Road
Author: Mayur Didolkar
Publisher: Juggernaut Books
Pages: 540 (Read in App)








As a murder mystery, The Dark Road by Mayur Didolkar was a good trip but there were some glaring potholes that should have been filled.

The body of 23-year-old Sanjyot Pathak, trekker and marathoner, is found brutally murdered, soon after an act of sexual intercourse, while she is out camping in the forest. This is the second tragedy in the Pathak family. Their older daughter, Amruta, had run away from home years ago.

A powerful man, Siddharth Pandit, Sanjyot’s father’s friend and one-time employer, pulls strings and pays for the privilege of having Prasanna Killedar, a private eye, work on the case in an unofficial capacity.

Prasanna has a daughter, Ira, of the same age as Sanjyot, and she is determined to find the killer. But it’s not an easy case. The murderer has wiped the body free of all fingerprints.

The police are convinced the killer was known to Sanjyot. Was it Kunal Darekar, Sanjyot’s married, abusive boyfriend? Or Kunal’s jealous wife? And is the Pathak family hiding other secrets?

Read the book to find out.


The story is written in the first person PoV of Prasanna, and the third person PoVs of Pandit and Sanjyot. The accounts of Pandit and Sanjyot give us a sketchy idea of what might have happened, but we need Prasanna to make those connections for us.


First let me talk about what I liked about the book.

I liked the easy descriptions of Pune locations, the familiarity it inspired. The best thing about books set in a familiar location are the references – mutton biryani and faluda kulfi. Enough of reading books where characters eat scones and profiteroles, alienating us poor souls brought up on rasgullas and payasams.

The information about hiking gear and habits was fascinating. I was impressed with the nugget of information relating to how seasoned hikers pack their gear in the order in which they will need them. If only there was more of this. There were details about police procedures and the tedium of the investigation but it was handled well.

In Prasanna Killedar, the author has created a fantastic character. In her late 40s, retired as the assistant commissioner of Police, Prasanna is sharp and no-nonsense, a mix of motherly and badass.

The description of Prasanna comes to us through details interspersed through the story, for instance, the rapidly greying hair. These details help us to get to know, and like, Prasanna. The backstory of her as a single mother makes her real and vulnerable.

I found it interesting that Prasanna spoke to us. It seemed as if she were talking to me as a reader, a close confidante whose ear she had.

I enjoyed her voice, the blend of sarcasm and low tolerance for fools with which she speaks. At one point, she decides to charge Pandit a “sarcasm levy” and an “asshole surcharge”, over and above the already high fee.

The name Killedar too was an interesting choice for her. It literally means the one with the key, and by extension, the unlocker of mysteries.

The humour was unmistakably good.

When Prasanna deliberately walks out of a meeting with Pandit, he apologises for not meeting her in the morning, and Prasanna tells us, Like he had been a no-show at today’s meeting.


I laughed out when Pandit opened his Notebook, and Prasanna tells us that she opened hers, a real paper one.

I also liked the pop culture references strewn through. These included the reference to the musical series, Glee; Joker in The Dark Knight, and Prof Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, besides Bollywood films, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai and Hazaar Chaurasi ki Maa; the TV singing reality show Zee Sa Re Ga Ma etc.

The cover with its dark leafless trees and a lonely tent was sufficiently foreboding.



But there were also things that were unnecessary.

Daughter Ira, we are told, is a statistician. Not that her job helped her mother in any way. A wasted detail. Ira served no other purpose than to bring out Prasanna’s soft side, and to play a key role in the climactic sequence. If you’ve watched as many Bollywood films of the ’70s and the ’80s as I have, then you’ll know what I mean.

The drama brought about by Prasanna’s three friends, especially Sharmil and her affairs, was equally pointless and could have been avoided.

The book is a thriller, so even though the author makes a reference to Kunal’s ideological brainwashing that made men point weapons at their own, we can’t go too deep into why Kunal is the way he is.


But surely there should have been an explanation for why Sanjyot persisted in linking herself to Kunal when a powerful man like Pandit was sweet on her? Sanjyot’s motivation needed an explanation.

There were some issues that were referred to but not pursued. These included domestic violence, the rifts in a marriage, the fascination with married women and violent ideologies.

There were some errors that needed to go.

Prasanna tells Janhavi Danve, Sanjyot’s best friend, I’m sure you share our interest in bringing those responsible to the book. 'The' isn’t required in that sentence.


Elsewhere, But still, something in visiting a place so utterly and suddenly silenced by death moved me. That should read something about…


Ignorance is still a bliss sometimes. Bliss doesn’t need the crutch of the article, a.

And in Chapter 10, we get Sanjyot’s and Pandit’s third person viewpoint in a chapter with Prasanna’s PoV.

The reference to Shikha Sharma, CEO of ICICI, was weird. Shikha is the CEO of Axis Bank. If you are going to use a real name, you better get your facts right.

There was also a problem with the voice of the mysterious caller who fed information to Prasanna. But I can’t tell you more for fear of revealing a spoiler.


The biggest issue that prevented The Dark Road from being a smooth ride was the resolution of the mystery. It was awkward and too filmy, and undid the effect of all that had gone before.

Despite it all, I rooted for Prasanna. I sure hope that the author intends to create another book for her. It can’t be the end of The Dark Road for her.


(I read The Dark Road in the Juggernaut Books app)



Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review: SAY NOTHING

Title: Say Nothing
Author: Brad Parks
Publisher: Dutton Books
Pages: 448







Say Nothing by Brad Parks is a thriller that had great potential that it somehow failed to live up to.

Scott Sampson is a good father to six-year-old twins Sam and Emma, a loving husband to wife Alison and a federal judge in a rural area in the US. His beautifully constructed life is unraveled when he gets a text from his wife, saying that she will pick up the children after school.

But she never sent it.


The children are kidnapped by dangerous people who warn of terrible consequences if the authorities are brought in. Say nothing, Scott is told.


Soon, he learns that the kidnappers want to control the verdict of a case, US versus Skavron, which Scott is to hear the following day.

The kidnap sends the loving couple to our own sections of the house and our own separate hells, totally upturning their lives and bringing about a rift in their marriage. In bed, two feet apart… felt like a thousand miles.


At work, Scott can barely concentrate. His lack of focus begins to affect his work. When the kidnappers seek to influence his judgements on pain of hurting his kids, it seriously impairs his ability to function with effectiveness and integrity.

At first it seems that they want to influence his judgement with regard to Skavron. When he gives them the judgement they seek, Sam is released, while Emma is detained further. It is at this time that Scott becomes aware of another case he is to hear: A multi-billion dollar patent infringement case, Palgraff versus ApotheGen. 

Scott has no idea which of the two parties might have kidnapped Emma, and therefore what verdict he is expected to deliver to get Emma back.

He hires a private investigator, intent on finding Emma, but all his efforts prove fruitless. When the PI is murdered by the kidnappers, Scott is no closer to finding his daughter.

As the date for the hearing nears, will he and Alison find their daughter? Or will they suffer the greatest loss of their lives?


The book is written in the first person past tense point of view of Scott. We also get the third person past tense point of view of the kidnappers, two brothers of unknown ethnicity who have kidnapped the twins on behalf of an unknown person. 

Because we have the kidnappers’ perspective, we know what condition the twins are being kept in. but that does not diminish the sense of anxiety we feel at the thought of the six-year-old Emma, who is asthmatic, suffering at the hands of the brutish and sadistic kidnappers.

Since Scott is a judge and the fate of his children hinges on a court case, we get a lot of what goes on behind the scenes. At first, he thinks that the kidnappers want Rayshaun Skavron, a smalltime drug dealer freed, but they want him sentenced on two counts, subsequently.

Scott’s views on parenting stem largely from the author’s own, that’s easy to tell. It’s something that all parents will agree with.

Scott’s love for his children leads him to speak at length about the bond between parents and children. He says, There’s something about having genuine fun with your kids that’s good for the soul. Another time he says, Watching your children sleep is one of the great joys of parenting.


It is this bond that helps him realise that It’s far more distressing when something happens to your kids than when it happens to you.


Even after Sam is returned, you can feel his pain at the loss of Emma when he says, each of us trying to adjust to a family that had so unexpectedly morphed from square to triangle.


He also makes comments about the bond between Alison and her three sisters who play an important role in supporting the couple, Internally fractured yet externally united. The world over, it’s the very definition of sisterhood.


I also liked the description of sociopaths. They were like houses. Where all the wiring is done, except the electrician has forgotten to make that final connection to the thing that makes us human, leaving the entire dwelling dark and unfit for occupation.


The story becomes powerful when you realise that Scott, who began his story by telling us he is content and that he has it all, is about to lose everything valuable in his life. One by one, all the props upon which his life depended are taken away from him.

And yet the drama of it all, of a harried judge about to face impeachment proceedings, a wife in the final stage of breast cancer, a little girl in captivity, gets diluted with the revelation of the person responsible for the kidnap.

The ending, though inevitable, was very sad.

(I got a free ARC from FirstToRead).


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