Tag Archives: Murder

JUST FINISHED: Where They Found Her

Author: Kimberly McCreight
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

While summers tend to get me in the mood for westerns and literary classics, the fall makes me long for mysteries and thrillers. Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight fits right into that mystery calling.

This is a fast-paced popular fiction read starts with an affluent town being rocked by the murder of a newborn child, found partially buried in a creek.  The story circulates around four women’s perspectives, each carrying their own piece to the puzzle. There is Molly – city girl turned small town journalist with a sad history. Sandy – teenage dropout with a sad-looking future. Barbara – the know-it all supermom with the truly sad life. And lastly Jenna – a character known to the reader through cryptic journal entries and from Sandy’s thoughts.

One fact that I enjoyed about this book – and also hated – was the idea that everyone is connected somehow. A play on the six degrees of separation, if you will. Why the hate, too?

**SPOILER ALERT**

Well, personally, a murder plot such as this one would never unfold so closely tied. Everyone, I mean everyone played a crucial role in order for the murder to even play out. It is one of those impeccable timing conundrums that I’m never too big of a fan of.

**END SPOILER ALERT**

If you’re in the mood for a murder-mystery quickie with some small-town drama, this read may be for you.

Advertisements

THE ARTIST

She stepped through the door. The sun illuminating her silhouette, sunk deep in the sky. The pastel red and yellows were beyond. They belonged to some other world.

Closing the door brought immediate darkness to the room. Blanketing the walls, hiding its bland features. There had never been much to it. I like to keep it simple. Clean. One bed. One chair. And one table. That’s all I need.

Her flowery aroma penetrates the stale air. The sweet smell tingles my nose, making me giddy inside.

“Marten?”

A smile breaks o my lips. The last of my name pronounced with a strong accent, French I believe. I want her to say it again.

“Marten?”

A pinprick sensation rolls up my skin. I can tell she is getting distraught. Her hand slides across the walls searching for a switch. The sound is frantic as she fumbles around.

“Hello?”

Back at the door again, she presses the handle. But it doesn’t budge. The hurried noise of heavy breathing quickens the air as she begins to kick the door.

I know what’s coming next. I never like it when they do it, either. This is supposed to be fun.

A scream, a lonely cry for help. More pounding on the door. Heat rises to the surface of my skin. It’s never as much fun when they scream. It makes it too real. Too much like the movies.

I glide across the floor, gently cupping her mouth as I drag her back to my abyss. Her teeth graze on my fingers, cutting the flesh. My blood drops quietly onto her blouse. It absorbs slowly into the fabric, now a piece of something else. Blood is such a beautiful thing. Mine should never be wasted.

She hits the tile with a thud as I release her from my grip. I catch a brief moment of victory rolling across her face. She thinks this is her chance. But that emotion is devoid as I sink down next to her, clinking my knife along the floor.

They always try to escape during my favorite part. Like the rest she rolls to her side and tries to rise. But she can’t. Her evening drink had a touch of ketamine in it. They always like those sweet mixed drinks.

Breathless, she lays back down. The room again filling with silence. I stroke her hair, watching her chest rise and fall. Such a waste. Her blood deserved someone better.

My knife begins dragging across the supple skin, streams of red spilling out over the white tile. Beautiful patterns prevail as it continues to pool and surge.

The artist has begun his painting.

JUST FINISHED: Crooked River

Author: Valerie Geary

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Two young girls find a dead body of a woman floating in a river near their home. The sight of the woman evokes a sense of questionable fear and resurfaces their feelings of sorrow from their own mother’s death only a few weeks before. Clues start surfacing and everyone begins to point the finger at their own father. But neither girls believe that their father could do such a thing and begin in their own way to unravel the mystery, sometimes helping and sometimes worsening the whole situation.

Geary produced an easy read filled with flowing imagery that explores the concepts of grief, love, and forgiveness. What I enjoyed about this novel was the slow, nostalgic way that Geary writes. It draws you in and keeps you there.

The negative items were the “too big clues” and irrational character decisions. What I mean by “too big clues” (SPOILER ALERT) were items that obviously point towards the truth behind the murder motive and murderer before it should be unveiled. The murderer’s son, Travis, trying to plant a lighter in the meadow. Travis catching Sam trying to throw away the jacket. The rude reaction of Mrs. Roth when Sam and Ollie are at the Attic store. The crazy talk from Mr. Roth to Ollie. I shouldn’t be able to pin point the murderer by the fourth chapter. Moves like that make that plot point not as intriguing.

Irrational character decisions is a pet peeve for me. An adult who realizes he may have a jacket belonging to a murder victim turns it in immediately if they are innocent. They don’t hold onto it, waiting for a child to do an adult’s job. I realize Bear himself was still growing, but still, really? The second big irrationality was on the Roth’s. You burn evidence left from your murder victim. Or dump it somewhere. You don’t randomly keep it locked up in your work basement or carry her lighter around in your pocket and use it. Especially in front of the person-who-you-are-trying-to-frame’s daughter. The third is deciding to kidnap a little girl and convince her sister to come alone to free her on the condition that she’ll confess a false story. No, no it just doesn’t happen like that. If you received a call that someone confessed to having your sister and for you to come alone, you call the police. You would never go to a possible murderer’s house alone. I mean seriously, what are your chances of coming out alive? And as the kidnapper, how irresponsible do you get? Why even kidnap a little girl who found some evidence? No one would believe a little girl who doesn’t talk! Just kick her out and burn it! You also would not keep the kidnappee in a maniac’s workshop if you intend to let her live….there’s just way too many things near the end that are “movie syndrome.” Doing the impossible and illogical to finish the plot.

Overall this was an alright novel. Not the greatest of mysteries, but at least enough to keep me interested.

DANCING WITH HOURS

The coffin was black. A solid one with only a ribbon of silver along the boning. The rain spilled onto it giving it a murky shimmer.

Fitting, he thought.

He gazed across the earth-gutted hole, catching the faces of her family. They stood erect and solemn, their eyes cast into a distant dream.

“And so we are here, on this day of mourning to say our last goodbyes. Dear Becca was such a kind soul….”

Liza, the mother, was wailing. Her face was puffy and red. Her black dress hugged her unwillingly, revealing gentle bobs of fat that giggled as she cried.

He had never liked her.

“…loss was sudden…tragic…and not to be forgotten, as in our hearts she will always be….”

He let his eyes roll towards a much younger woman standing next to Liza. Her golden red hair curled tightly around her heart-shaped face. Hair just like her sister’s. The tips ended at the fringed lace just above her breasts. Her pale skin was smooth, complimenting her fine figure.

I will have her now.

“..please bow with me in prayer as we bring this soul back to our God.”

He lowered his head, pretending as he had always done. Prayer had never worked. It was just a motion.

He let his shoes sponge the ground, leaving imprints on the surface. This day had come so quickly. He hadn’t noticed Blue Bones. Did he actually miss today?

A small victory. Maybe he finally grew a heart to fill those bones.

“Alec, is there anything you would like to say?” the preacher asked, bringing him back to the moment.

The crowd was staring at him. He felt their eyes piercing at his thoughts. Hesitant, he nodded towards the preacher and move towards the stand. The soft mud squished beneath him.

“Becca stole my heart the first day we met,” he started. “And she never let it go. She was a beautiful woman, thoughtful and giving. She gave so much that…” He searched the crowd for him again. He wanted to be sure.“…often times, I believe she cared more for others than herself.”

“Yet that very spirit is what has brought us here today. She…” He stopped. There he was, in the back, his blue uniform standing out from the drooping black clothes in front of him. He was smiling. God, he hated that smile.

No victory then.

Alec cleared his throat. “She would of never believed what that man was truly capable of. All she could see in him was a broken soul that needed mending…and so she let him in.  Into our house….into our hearts…and painfully into our memories.”

He was still smiling. At the funeral. Smiling.

“I loved her so much. And now…now she’s gone forever.” He looked back down at the black coffin; the white orchards that laid on top were drenched, flattened on the wood.

A hand grasped his shoulder as a murmur began rippling through the crowd.

“I think that’s good enough,” the preacher whispered to him.

Alec shuffled back to his spot, little relief filling him. He hated speeches. And he hated Blue Bones’s smile.