I’m not sure what to make of this book. It started off strong, I liked it, it was going well and then it started to lose me. It faded in the last.. half? Quarter? Bit. It faded in the last bit. I’m not entirely sure when it started to fade, but fade it did by god.
Okay, so it’s a mystery, which is a bit unusual for me. Normally I don’t go for mysteries. I tend to get impatient and read the end and then lose interest once I know who did it. Self defeating, I realize, but it’s really just not my genre. That and I have a hard time finding an author I like or characters that I like within that genre. I don’t really know why. But anyway, this one was interesting and on sale for a dollar so I figured I didn’t have much to lose. I’m not sure if I did either.
It starts off with a murder of an anonymous woman as the prologue, which is then pushed quickly to the back burner for the much more interesting case of… the guy who died of apparent natural causes in his kitchen. I thought they were trying for a thing. I decided to go with it. While the crime scene people are waiting for the paramedics to show up to take the body away, the victim’s father shows up at the guys house- while the body is still there. Awkward. The main character, Madison Cross, then strikes up a sort of friendship with the guy. She’s trying to be nice, she hangs out with him while their waiting for the van to come for his dead son, they play cards, they talk etc. And then she gets, to my mind, like way too involved in this guy’s life. She calls his doctor to get a prescription for Valium, since he’s had quite a shock, she picks it up for him, she calls social services to get him a helper, she calls his doctor for his medical records when she’s told by social services that they would need them, she goes by his house at least once a day to see him. She bends over backwards for a complete stranger. I mean, maybe I’m just not that good of a person, god knows that’s a possibility, but this is a grown ass man. Let him try to sort things out for himself first before charging in and getting all up in his business. She even goes to the son’s funeral for him. All this after hanging out for a few hours with him on a bad day. It seems a bit much. I mean, apparently her mother was murdered when she was a girl and her father emotionally abandoned her after that, soon followed by actual abandonment, which, as I understand it, can lead to that kind of behavior, but it just seemed weird. Like, every time I turned around, she was talking about Horace, going to visit Horace, needing to ask Horace some questions, investigating the death of Horace’s son and the various and sundry other people who had died in his proximity throughout his life. And then the first murder, the one that is definitively murder, the one that the book opened with for god’s sake, seems like it’s forgotten or pushed to the side. Instead, she focuses virtually all her attention on Horace, his dead son, his dead wife, his dead doctor and his apparently criminal missing son. And never once, until the end, does she ever really consider Horace as a real suspect. Dude, just because the guy’s in a wheelchair doesn’t mean he can’t find a way to kill someone. Or several someones. Honestly, he was my only suspect all along. If a good mystery novel can be judged by how much it kept you guessing, then this one was not good. When it was revealed that Horace killed everyone, including the mystery woman at the beginning, a coincidence of epic proportions that has me rolling my eyes, I was not surprised. My reaction was more along the lines of “Well, duh.” I mean, the wheelchair explanation, Munchausen syndrome, was a bit of a surprise, but the rest of it, no. (Munchausen, for anyone who isn’t familiar with it, is a psychological disorder that causes someone to pretend that they’re sick or disabled to garner attention. There’s also Munchausen by Proxy, which is when someone, usually a parent, makes someone else actually sick to garner attention. Don’t tell me television doesn’t teach you anything.)
Anyway, like I said, I liked it at first, but by the end I was rolling my eyes at the constant references to Horace, her obsessive personality and how she seemed blind to the fact that the one common factor in three separate deaths is one person. Honestly, that person either has the worst luck in the world or they’re a killer, and as a person at least associated with the cops, if not a cop herself, she should always land on the killer side first, just to be safe. Makes you wonder how good she actually is at her job.