Linda grew up in an abusive household along with her four brothers and little sister, Elizabeth, who committed suicide six months ago. Everyone in the family has handled the death differently, and it (as well as behavior by her family) hit her hard. Lately, though, she's been having dreams about Elizabeth - and is even sure that she saw her one day while she was on her way home from work.
Maybe it's the fact that Steve, a guy she once knew, has come back into her life, investigating a string of murders and believing, at least on some level, that Elizabeth did not die. Maybe it's the stress of the first family dinner (and holiday) since Elizabeth's death, and the fact that at least one of her brothers blames her for what happened. She's unsure, but things keep happening - time she can't remember, nightmares, and police officers that act like she's hiding something - all leading her to feel (and act) more guilty.
Can she be the murderer? Or is Elizabeth still alive? Who would go through all of this trouble to make Linda look (and feel) guilty?
I am a big fan of psychological thrillers, so when this was suggested to me, I decided to give it a go. The book description drew me in and the title of the novel had my brain working from the very first page, wondering how the two go together. As the story went on, though, it felt more like a cozy mystery with a little bit of paranormal thrown in, and the way things worked out just seemed a little too easy with "facts" that, up until the end, were just things Linda believed without much question.
The characters are written well, and I enjoyed the fact that sometimes I wasn't sure if she should be trusting the person or not. (I went back and forth several times with who I thought was behind everything.)
The two characters I liked the most were Mrs. Jensen and Don Shimon. Unfortunately, they were not actual characters in the story, but more like side people who had known the family once upon a time. I'm still not really sure what they were there for, other than the fact that we find out a lot of the background on the family - through memories and observations - from these two. For some reason, the family popped into their heads at some random time (or at least that's the way it seemed), and through that, we find out answers to some nagging questions, things that didn't make sense. Had they been actual characters in the story, I would have thought this was a great idea, but to just throw in two chapters (one for each) where they share all this information about what has happened in the past just seemed a little too easy.
The two characters I disliked the most were the cops that questioned Linda. They really had no part in the story either, other than to play bad cop to Steve's smitten cop, and were also the cause of things being put into Linda's head, making her believe that she had done this. The attitude and behavior of the female one just seemed really off and uncomfortable... and, as the story continues towards the end, they seem like VERY secondary characters. (In fact, I was pretty convinced when we first meet the female cop that she was framing Linda - possibly being jealous about Steve's feelings for her - because the hatred of her seemed SO extreme that I couldn't think of any other reason why she would loathe someone she didn't even know.)
The story itself has a lot of good points. Most specifically, the information dumps I spoke of above. They didn't feel like information dumps, even though that was what they were, and gave us a different look at Elizabeth, all from things that they had noticed from afar. I also enjoyed the way the story worked itself out at the end.
I would recommend the book if you want some light reading with a little bit of suspense, and it would be nice to see the author do an additional story with some of these characters - I think Terri would make a great private investigator.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.