Top critical review
19 of 21 people found this helpful
Compelling story, awkwardly executed
on May 30, 2012
The premise and five star ratings here drew me in, but at times I wanted to throw the book across the room in frustration. I might have actually done the tossing if I wasn't reading it on a Kindle. The manuscript cried out for better editing. Except for the main character, Hannah, the characters were thin and seemed randomly motivated. Olson's writing style was stilted and awkward in spots -- inconsistencies kept the story from flowing. A character performs an action in one paragraph, and two paragraphs later, they do it again as if for the first time. His narrative choices omit major parts of the history .... The military victims of the villain are never explored beyond establishing their dead bodies, and Hannah's spotty memory of the events never gels enough to let the reader know what her history, and guilt, are really about. In the meantime, we do learn that a coffee shop smells of bacon and Listerine. Listerine? Why was the villain so villainous, and if she was such a psychopath, how did she fool her community for the next twenty years? How did she settle down with another husband, apparently so lovingly? The ending's twist was very unsatisfying. One character -- murdered toward the end without sufficient explanation -- says to another, words to the effect that there is not always a reason why crazy people do what they do. If that is the message of this novel, then it takes a better writer to pull off that theme. In this context, it is just an excuse. A shame this compelling premise was not better executed.
Also, this Kindle version had a number of typos, to further frustrate the reading experience.