The title of this novel should be Long Dark River instead of Long
Bright River. There is hardly a bright moment in the 500 pages. (It could be
cut to about 300 without losing anything.) But it’s well written, enough to
keep me reading through the whole book.
There are two plots. One is a family story about two sisters, a cop, Mickey, and an addict, Kacey. They haven’t been on speaking terms for years, but Mickey keeps an eye out for her sister. When she doesn’t see Kacey on the streets for several weeks, she assumes her sister is missing, possibly dead from an overdose or a serial killer who is loose in the neighborhood.
The serial killer is the second plot, the mystery. I think
it’s supposed to be the main plot since the book is classified as a mystery/thriller
(I’d call it “women’s fiction” or a family novel), but the serial killer thread
takes a backseat to Mickey’s search for her sister. She’s not a very good cop.
She neglects her duties, breaks rules, believes and follows up rumors, and finally
The first person narrator, Mickey, isn’t likable. She’s
depressed, insecure, terrible decision-maker, and she doesn’t connect with
people. The author spends far too much time in Mickey’s head and switches to
her past in some chapters, which probably isn’t necessary. I wanted to like her
but never connected.
One thing that irritates me about the writing is the use of
the M-dash instead of quotes for dialog. It’s distracting. I don’t know what
the author is trying to prove.
There’s not an ounce of humor in this story.
Hikers find a girl’s bones off the Appalachian Trail in
northern Georgia. They turn out to be the remains of a girl gone missing 15
years earlier, a suspected victim of dead serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. The incident
brings together a team of crime investigators, led by FBI agent Kimberly Quincy.
She recruits a group from Boston who have been tracking Ness’s crimes—police
sergeant D.D. Warren, civilian kidnap-survivor Flora Dane, and Flora’s sidekick,
computer guru Keith Edgar.
The book combines police procedural and thriller. The first
part, mostly procedural and introduction to the characters if you haven’t
followed the series, is a bit boring if you’ve followed Gardner’s novels. The
pace picks up as it goes along, and the crimes and criminals pile up. The last
few chapters are action-packed. The story pace feels like a train slowly
chugging out of the station, picking up some speed as it goes through the city,
then turning into high-speed rail.
The plot is chilling. Hopefully no real towns exist like the
one in this story. Gardner’s excellent writing kept me reading even through the
early slow chapters.
The pace and the proliferation of characters keep my rating
at 4 stars, not 5. I would prefer fewer POV characters. Four women carry the
story, each picking up separate pieces of information—Kimberly, D.D., Flora,
and a girl without a name or voice who is held captive by the bad guys.
Even with these flaws, When
You See Me is an excellent read. I recommend it, and I recommend that if
you haven’t read other Lisa Gardner books…do it now!
Not having read the previous books in the Monkeewrench
series, this was a standalone for me. It was well written, and I enjoyed it.
The characters, good and bad, are interesting, some with
unique backgrounds and personalities, but there are too many to follow. I was
almost to the end of the story before I had them all sorted out. It probably
would have helped to read earlier books in the series first. But they were
warm, sometimes humorous, and the baby in the office at Monkeewrench added
insight into some of the characters.
I won’t summarize the story; it’s covered many times in
reviews. The plot had many twists and turns, but I feel it overdoes the coincidences
and connections between crimes, like cop shows on TV. I can’t believe that
happens often in real life.
There were several bad guys in this story, and I spotted
them all early before they were revealed even though some were painted as good
or harmless. But there is a twist at the end.
“You ever notice that when it’s this cold, snow doesn’t crunch, it squeaks?” The bitter cold Minneapolis setting made me shiver, reminding me of my many years living in the north. I’m glad I now live in Florida.
Overall a good read. I would recommend it, but with the caveat
that you read other books in the series first.
Ms. Morgenstern writes beautiful pictures with her creative
imagination. This is a novel for the senses.
Not a particular fan of fantasy, I picked up The Night Circus because I thoroughly
enjoyed her second novel, The Starless
Sea. I see there are mixed reviews for this story; people seem to love it
or hate it. The plot moves slowly, but the author writes beautifully. You need
to immerse yourself in the sensations of the circus to enjoy it.
The book is magic.