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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

REVIEW: Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

Where They Found Her is a mystery thriller which takes place in a small college town. Molly Anderson is a former lawyer turned journalist, whose life is recovering from a turbulent series of events. Asked to report on the discovery of body, past events of loss and turmoil resurface when the body is discovered to be that of an infant. Despite having lost a child of her own, Molly is determined to do her job; however, further investigation reveals a complicated web of lies that will changes lives forever.

At the last minute, I filled in to facilitate book club. I read this book over the course of a few hours.  I found it well written with good pacing and a plot compelling enough to keep me engaged despite a few flaws.

What I liked...
  • The shifting points of view to broaden the storytelling. This enhances character development and pushes to reader to make connections as to how these characters relate to one another and fit within the larger pieces of the puzzle. However, I wanted more. Namely, to see POV plot development for characters like Hannah.
  • The incorporation of multi-genre pieces to add dimension to the narrative. I found the addition of the therapy transcripts, journals, and news articles with commentary interesting devices to move the plot forward.  I did wish that some transitions were better since some of this felt rather clunky at times. 
  • The mystery itself. In general, Where They Found Her is a good whodunnit for readers who enjoy mystery thrillers and might be fans of notable authors in the genre. I felt that this built similar to a Kathy Reichs narrative minus the emphasis on forensics. 
What I didn't like...
  • Parts of the 'big reveal'. I had most of the mystery solved before the ending.  My problem isn't with the unraveling of the baby's identity or with how Sandy and her mother, Jenna, fit into the larger story. I was expecting this and the connection to past and present events described even it it was all a bit predictable. Some of it was just too convenient and I didn't buy it.
  • Characters left in limbo. There were several stories that I didn't feel were adequately wrapped up. I wanted more closer for Cole, Hannah and even Sandy. There is too much trauma and questions regarding the future to leave it like that. 
  • The final twist. I'm not one to give major spoilers so I won't elaborate too much. What I will remark on is that I was disappointed by this last bit because I didn't think it was necessary. Villainizing this particular character didn't add much in the long run and the connection to the news article comments could have been incorporated better to wrap things up. This part felt forced and altogether out of place.
Overall, there novel has merit for the genre but I don't think I would have necessarily picked it up on my own. It was too graphically realistic for me since I am typically a science fiction, fantasy or romance reader.  The world is a violent, depressing mess and reading fiction about circumstances which happen like this everyday in real life isn't the kind of escape I look for in reading. That being said, McCreight composes a notable submission to the genre that will entice readers looking for a compelling story on par with other authors in this area.

Final rating 3.5 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @kimmccreight

#WhereTheyFoundHer #KimberlyMcCreight #mystery #thriller #Books 

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