Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Whatcha Readin? Week 46

Another week, another thriller. I'm telling you, next week I'm going to read Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms to balance myself back out! Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott is the story of a woman, her three children and her unstable, obsessed husband. What could possibly go wrong??

The woman--Olivia--and her children disappear, and the case is assigned to Detective Tom Douglas, who has actually investigated three other cases involving Olivia. Her husband Robert is, of course, their first suspect. He tells them a little truth, slanted to serve his purposes, and a lot of lies. From the evidence they uncover, the detective and his team have three theories: 1. Olivia and the children have been killed 2. Olivia and the children have been kidnapped or 3. Olivia and the children wanted to disappear. Robert has spent years planting seeds in case he needs to make Olivia look unfit, so the team also has to figure out whether the children are safe if they are, in fact, with Olivia.

Robert, in the meantime, is running his own covert investigation, and he's a step ahead of the detectives the entire way. I like books to have happy endings with clear and definite closure, but the more details Abbott revealed, the less sure I was that I was going to get that. I was reading as fast as I could in spots--as if I could help the detectives catch up by reading their parts faster! It might have worked, if I'd been able to read Robert's parts slower. ha!

This book could have been a predictable, formulaic read, but Rachel Abbott did a great job at keeping the reader off-balance throughout the book by frequently changing narrators and looking at the same clue from various perspectives. That's not to say that the book didn't follow a formula; I just wasn't sure which formula it was until the end. She also kept the suspense taut by changing the pacing of the story. At first, Robert is merely agitated, but soon his sections read like a crazed bull in a china shop. We're watching him unravel and lose control; we see him rapidly shift from being concerned with maintaining appearances in front of the police to being obsessed with finding his wife, regardless of who or what stands in his way. It was frightening.

I was also struck by how Abbott slowed the story by alluding to the detectives' lives. Tom would make dinner for his girlfriend or take a phone call about his cottage being robbed, and I would think, "Dude! You don't have time for this! Robert is thinking about one thing and one thing only--and he's ahead of you at the moment!" That is good writing, right there, my friends. As I keep saying, I'm done with this genre for a while, but I would definitely recommend this book.

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