Decent Mystery, Decent Protagonist with an Unusual Memory Twist

18 03 2012

“And She Was” by Alison Gaylin is billed as a novel of suspense (on its cover, anyway), but it doesn’t quite fit that billing. Nevertheless, it’s a satisfactory enough read. Gaylin can write. That’s never in doubt. She turns many phrases beautifully but sometimes to the point where the language detracts from the story.

A little background: the story is basically about PI Brenna Spector investigating a years-old disappearance of a child named Iris and a modern-day disappearance that may be connected. Add to that the fact Brenna’s sister disappeared when they were kids, Brenna was a witness and the trauma caused Brenna to have a condition in which she remembers everything perfectly. So, a lot of the book is filled with flashbacks triggered by a certain sight, smell or taste. Yeah, it’s annoying. It disrupts the flow. But that’s kinda the point, isn’t it? This is what Brenna has to live with, and it’s disruptive as all heck for her.

So, anyway, a bit more on the bad: I didn’t particularly care about many, if not most, of Brenna’s flashbacks. Skim land there. This also  happened for other swaths of the book (especially where there was some fancy language, the only point of which was to show Gaylin can write). The mysteries also get too convoluted about 3/4 through.

The good stuff: Brenna has an awesome assistant named Trent. He’s like a kinda intellectual “Jersey Shore” person. He shines. He leaps off the page, more than anyone else. I wanted more Trent! The resolution of the Iris mystery (the whodunit) was also satisfactory. I was glad to see none of the convolutions came into play there.

There’s a sequel planned in winter 2013. I’m not sure if I’ll read it. Maybe I will if I come across it, but it’ll be nothing I put on my advance reading lists. It promises to follow up on the disappearance of Brenna’s sister, but quite frankly, I never much cared about it in “And She Was.” I wanted more on the cases Brenna was investigating, and her sister’s disappearance, in my opinion, felt like filler.

Three stars: decent mystery, decent protagonist with an unusual memory twist.








One response

29 03 2012
More Now Now Now, Please! :) « Groovy Pages

[…] writes beautifully, but like with a book I reviewed recently, the writing sometimes gets in the way of the story. (I love beautiful writing but not for the sake […]

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