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Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Flashback

From April 2003:

Sleep Tight by Anne Frasier. Romantic suspense.

This is truly a book with something for everyone: a creepy suspense story about a serial killer, a family story about estranged sisters overcoming their differences, and a mystery story about a decade-old murder. There's even a hint of romance. All the parts are combined seamlessly, with developments in one affecting the others, making for an especially intense reading experience.

Elsewhere on this board, I've recommended reading this one with the lights on. I'll repeat that recommendation. This killer gave me chills. Abducting young women, then killing them when they disappoint him by not being the perfect woman.... We get a peek into his head in the prologue, and that sets the tone for the whole book.

Our heroine, Mary Cantrell, is an FBI agent who's recovering from a gunshot wound. She won't take time off to heal, so her boss sends her to her hometown to help local police solve a pair of murders, assuming she'll rest when she's home.

Unfortunately, Mary's hometown isn't exactly restful for her. When she was a teenager, her best friend was murdered. A boy, Gavin Hitchcock, who was friends with Mary's sister Gillian, was convicted of the crime, yet Gillian maintains his innocence, and remains his friend. He was released from prison shortly before the first murder. Gillian helped him find a place to live. What's worse, the murders have some similarities to the murder of Mary's friend all those years ago. And to top it off, Gillian is working for the local police force, so Mary and Gillian have to try to put aside their differences and work together.

For the first half of this book, as the evidence mounts up against Gavin, I was so angry with Gillian that I couldn't see how the sisters could ever end the book amicably. Which is great, by the way--I always enjoy being surprised.

The secondary characters really added to the depth of the book--Mary & Gillian's mother, Blythe, is a free spirit, and scenes with her are a welcome break from the tension. Mary's partner Anthony is a quiet but solid presence, always there when Mary needs him, caring for her more deeply than she realized. There's a wonderful scene where Blythe decides they all need to relax and she proposes a pottery competition.

I don't want to say anything about the end of the book, for fear of spoiling it for someone who hasn't read the book yet. I loved the surprises & twists along the way--I didn't see them coming, but I suspect I'd see the clues on a reread. Which I'll do with the lights on.

Read the entire thread, including comments from Anne Frasier, here.

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great review...and i love the challenges.
Thanks, Sarah!
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