Author: Jane Holland
Format/Page Count: e-book, 360
Published: Thomas & Mercer, September 27, 2016
There’s a body in the woods. At least, there was. Eleanor Blackwood saw it on her morning run: a young woman, strangled to death.
But the police can find nothing—no body, no sign of a crime—and even Ellie has to wonder if it was a trick of her mind, a gruesome vision conjured up by grief. It’s eighteen years to the day since she witnessed her own mother’s murder on the same woodland spot. But what if she really did see what she thinks she saw? What if the body was left there for Ellie alone to find?
And there’s one detail Ellie can’t shake: a deliberate number three on the dead woman’s forehead. When she discovers a second body, this one bearing the number two, Ellie is convinced they are not messages but threats. The killer is on a countdown: but who is girl number one?
I don’t know what to make of this book. The plot sounded so intriguing, and I was in the mood for a good thriller, plus the cover was beautiful and interesting enough, and yet for the first 100 or so pages I simply couldn’t get into the story. Couldn’t even connect with the main character, Eleanor. She’s seen her mother die when she was six years old, has some repressed memories about that terrible day, and everything comes to the surface when she discovers a body eighteen years later, exactly at the spot her own mother was killed in the woods..Intriguing, yes? Well, yeah. But I can’t say Eleanor was the most relatable heroine ever. And not for the lack of having a connection to her mind. The narration is first person, so we get a pretty good picture of what Eleanor is thinking at all times, but it’s also how the book dragged in those first hundred pages. We see too much of what Eleanor is thinking. After the initial finding of the body, Eleanor drags us around with her while she shares her thoughts about her friends that adds nothing to the mystery if you ask me.
After I got through those pages that I admit didn’t interest me at all, we finally make progress about both Eleanor’s mother’s unsolved case, and the one concerning the body she had just discovered. We already know the two cases are related, but it seemed to me like the author took the route to solve Eleanor’s mom’s case first, and then relating that to the current one. We got our clues through Eleanor’s hypnotherapy sessions, where we go back to the day her mother was killed, and get one clue at a session. Was it nice? Yeah, it was interesting. I like the breadcrumb take to solving a crime, but it only tells half the story. The current murder needed more police work that I didn’t see here. And the fact that Eleanor kept so much to herself didn’t help matters either. It only made me dislike her more. I understand making wrong decisions in situations like these, but though she shouldn’t have, with every action she chose to take, Eleanor came off as pretentious.
As for the cases and the result, I have to say it wasn’t enough to satisfy me. I thought there were plotholes left here and there, and the motive was not good enough for me. I didn’t see the connection between the cause and the effect, and that’s all I can say without spoiling the story for anyone. I think the idea was there, and it was a good one, one I liked most of the time, but the execution wasn’t right. Lots of details could be left out so we could focus more on the psychology, and the building tension. The book was too cluttered for my taste in that sense.
With a potential to be a good thriller, this just didn’t reach my expectations. I’m adding two spoonfuls of this story into my hodgepodge.
Other titles by Jane Holland:
- Last Bird Singing: A dark, intense, psychological thriller
- The Brief History of a Disreputable Woman