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Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod [Kindle Edition]

Maria Flook
2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

A literary investigation by "one of the most powerful American writers at work today" [Annie Proulx] of a story that riveted the nation: how an accomplished, world-traveled fashion writer who had retreated to a simpler life as a single mother on Cape Cod became the victim of a brutal, still-unsolved murder.

On the surface, Christa Worthington’s life had the appearance of privilege and comfort. She was the granddaughter of prominent New Yorkers. Her sparkling journalism earned the fashion world’s respect. But she had turned her back on a glamorous career and begun living in the remote Cape Cod town where she had summered as a child. When she was found murdered in Truro, Massachusetts, just after New Year’s Day in 2002, her toddler daughter clinging to her side, her violent death brought to the surface the many unspoken mysteries of her life.

Invisible Eden is the deeply felt story of a career woman's attempt to start over and reinvent her life away from the fashion circles of New York and Paris only to have an out-of-wedlock child with a local fisherman, forge a life as a single mother, and meet a violent end. Brilliantly portraying Christa’s hunger for belonging and her struggle for survival as a first-time mother, Flook searingly evokes her search for a safe haven, her many tumultuous relationships, and the evidence linking family, strangers, lovers, suspects, and innocents to the tragedy that both shocked a seaside town on Cape Cod and horrified the nation. Flook intricately maps Christa's charged life before her death and follows the first year of the murder investigation with the help of the district attorney who is in an election battle even as he searches for the killer. At the same time, Invisible Eden captures the Cape's haunted landscape, class stratifications, and never-ending battles between its weathy summer residents and its hardscrabble working families who together form a backdrop for a powerful chronicle of love and murder. An edgy and compelling portrait of a woman's tragic journey, Invisible Eden is a mesmerizing true story.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In January 2002, 46-year-old fashion writer Crista Worthington was found stabbed to death on the floor of her cottage in Truro, Mass. Her curly-haired toddler, Ava, was nestled by her side. The murder traumatized Worthington's idyllic Cape Cod community and captured the attention of the national media. Here, Truro resident Flook (My Sister Life: The Story of My Sister's Disappearance) attempts to make literary sense of the tragic, downward spiral of Worthington. An attractive former Vassar girl and scion of a prominent local family, she left a glamorous career in New York (she also worked for WWD in Paris) to have an affair with a ruggedly handsome but very married fisherman and have his child. Flook, despite her lively writing, cannot solve the crime. "No one can understand the arc of the victim's life until her killer is ID'ed," writes Flook herself. Flook turns to terse Michael O'Keefe, the assistant district attorney responsible for the Worthington case, for insight and what can only be called local macho resonance. But his noncommittal investigative shop talk can't take the place of the truth. Most disappointing, the victim herself emerges as neither sympathetic nor compelling, a spoiled little rich girl who seems to care little for anyone except her daughter and herself. "The more we look at her, the uglier she gets," O'Keefe says of Worthington. Although Flook fleshes out various suspects, including Tony Jackett, the father of Worthington's child, and Tim Arnold, the spurned-lover-turned-friend who found Worthington's body. Flook seems to favor Arnold as the murderer, but who knows? This work will leave most readers with a sense of sadness and not much else.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* When Christa Worthington, an accomplished fashion writer and single mother, was found murdered in a remote Cape Cod town, national media became fascinated with the life and tragic end of a woman who appeared to have everything. Flook, a newer resident to the same small town, follows the investigation into the still unsolved murder of a woman who drifted from a life of high fashion and old WASP money to chasing a local fisherman heartthrob, the father of her child, in the hopes that he would divorce his wife. Drawing on interviews with family, friends, and former lovers, as well as investigators and murder suspects, Flook brings Worthington to life, detailing her vibrancy, character flaws, and obsessions. The Vassar graduate, disappointed with her career, found herself in her 40s, back home in Cape Cod, nursing a dying mother, expecting a child, and reviving a hatred for her philandering father, who had taken up with a much younger woman who was addicted to heroin. Flook also offers a searing look at the seaside town peopled with the rich, famous, and quirky, as well as the blue-collar, obscure, and edgy, in this intimate look at the allure of secrets, sex, and murder. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 709 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0767913744
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1 edition (June 24, 2003)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FBFNZ6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #788,602 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars atrocious writing December 7, 2004
By Jazzer
I'm only several chapters into this book, and though the story is interesting, I can't believe the poor level of writing. Does this author write cheap romances? A few examples speak for themselves:

"...he captained her onto the pillowy pier of her Posturpedic."

(I was ready to drop the book after reading that one)

"Casanovia college boys, their surfboards strapped onto their cars like fiberglass codpieces..."

(this allusion makes no sense at all, you do not strap a codpiece on a roof, it would more resemble the "bras" on sportscars. Now if she had said fiberglass phaluses it would be bad, but at least closer)

Only 375 pages to go.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Maria Flook? Start Packing! July 11, 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Same person here from Europe. I finished the book, thought it was so poorly written, researched, everything, that I wanted to give it NO stars but then found I couldn't post without at least one! There are so many spelling errors of well-known names and places that it drove me nuts. Other readers are correct when they point out that the author pretends to know what Christa was thinking and feeling during major events in her life when she knew her as well as I did which is not at all. The author repeats the same things over and over and over, ad nauseum. Great way to pad out a book so one can charge for more pages. And some of the things that she wrote about the people in her community were so insulting and appalling, she should probably think about relocating because I bet she's not on anybody's guest lists this season.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very difficult to read... September 15, 2004
While I am an avid reader and enjoy non-fiction, I found this book to be extremely difficult to get through. Flook's writing is tedious and includes so many trivial details that I found myself wishing the book would end around page 50. Christa Worthington's story could be a compelling read, but any excitement is lost in the minutiae. If you are looking for a true-crime book that will grab you at the beginning, entwine you in the story, and keep you interested throughout, this is not it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Huge Disappointment December 8, 2004
While there were some bits of wonderful folklore and history about the towns of Truro and Provincetown--both favorites of mine--I agree with a number of readers who were turned off by the poor quality of the writing and its overwrought tone. I also found that the author's repeated attempts to draw the reader to parallels between herself and Christa Worthington rang false and forced, it's lazy writing. Additionally, and adding to the poor quality was the numerous occasions of repeated information, either by using the same exact sentence, same quote, or turn of phrase. It was so prevalent, I can't believe the editor or author didn't realize this was the case, and it's too sloppy to have been done intentionally, there would be no purpose served in having the bits repeated. I held a morbid interest in this story due to my attachment to the place it discussed, I'm not a huge fan of the genre, but I've read enough of this ilk to know that this was hardly a stellar example of true crime reporting. Really a shame, as there is an abundance of wonderful history to be told, and so many colorful characters, that, on top of the intrinsic human nature to be interested in unsolved murders of the rich and even marginally famous, left me surprised at how the author failed each time to take advantage and create any interest. She seemed more obsessed with mimicking Christa Worthington's flowery writing style, again, failing miserably and often completely distracting the reader from the story with an inappropriately used adjective or metaphor. I actually skipped whole paragraphs and sections because I couldn't bear to read their content.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Big Disappointment May 19, 2005
I did not read this book until after a suspect was arrested for the murder of Christa Worthington. In retrospect Flook's book seems laughable now as the whole picture she painted of Christa Worthington had absolutely nothing to do with her death.

Flook goes way off on too many tangents here: the history of the Cape, the Pilgrims, the fishing industry, etc. I got the sense that she was just filling pages. The fact is that she had really nothing to contribute to the case herself. She was able to talk to the DA and to Tony Jackett and Tim Arnold, but they ultimately provided no useful information on Worthington's murder.

The other thing that bothers me is Flook's nearly complete negative portrayal of everyone in this story: Worthington especially, but also people who live and work on Cape Cod. No one is spared her indignation.

The sad part is that Flook contributed to the hysterical finger-pointing that occured on the Cape over the past 3 years. Everyone seemed to blame Worthington for her own murder. Reading Flook's book you start to believe that Worthington's "crime" of being a single mom who liked to fool around with married men contributed to her murder. The truth, apparently, is that it was a random act of violence. Flook needs to own up to her role in smearing Worthington's reputation.

If you must read this book, look for it in the library, don't buy it.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ugh August 2, 2003
By A Customer
I bought this because another true crime book-- In His Garden, by Leo Damore, about the Tony Costa murders in Provincetown in the 60's-- is a brilliant, comprehensive look at a murderer and his times. I was hoping for something similar. What a disappointment. Invisible Eden is badly written, numbingly repetitive, padded out with all kinds of irrelevant material, and bizarrely focussed on the small details of the victim's sex life. The author turns out to have the rare ability to make sex seem dull, but while striving to titillate she reduces Christa Worthington to a stock character, someone out of Looking for Mr. Goodbar. She doesn't get any more about the murder or the suspects than the newspapers did--in fact she barely seems to try. And to see how cheap she holds Worthington's life--breathily detailing her own minor flirtation with the DA as they bend over photographs of Worthington's stripped and bloodied body--is truly repulsive.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars An ok time passer
Wasn't as good of a read as I anticipated.
Published 5 months ago by Terri Claire
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you
Published 5 months ago by Suzanne Boatright
3.0 out of 5 stars I thought it dragged some in the middle. I ...
I thought it dragged some in the middle. I got tired of reading about all her sexual escapades. Maybe it is all necessary to depict what kind of a person Christa was. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jim Silva
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read that keeps you going
A very intriguing story that would be sad even with a happy ending. You feel like you know this diverse little town and many of its secrets.
Published 13 months ago by Angie
4.0 out of 5 stars love and murder on the cape
Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod by Maria Flook
Christa Worthington, famous fashion writer that lives in Truro, MA on the cape and about her life and her... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jbarr5 (julie Barrett)
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Nearly As Bad As I Feared
In fact, I rather liked it.

Having said that, I am a newcomer to this book, which was published a few years ago. Read more
Published on May 22, 2012 by Norma Desmond
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and complex
Although this book might lure people in who are looking for just a good true crime story, it offers a much more subtle and complex picture of a town and its inhabitants. Read more
Published on March 7, 2012 by Mary Ellen Hanley
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe all the negative reviews; this book is good.
Thank goodness for the free previews you can download on Kindle, otherwise I would not have purchased this book if I'd only had the horrible reviews to go by. Read more
Published on November 6, 2011 by J. Labonte
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing book
This book gets quite a few negative reviews. I actually found it intriguing. The style is unusual -- it is eclectic, episodic and idiosyncratic. Read more
Published on September 17, 2011 by Rose21
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
I read this book after watching the TV film/report by Dominic Dunne. The book gives a different angle on the victim who was a very complex personality, but a human being... Read more
Published on May 25, 2011 by D. Stichick
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More About the Author

Maria Flook, a 2007 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, is the author of the nonfiction books, My Sister Life: The Story of My Sister's Disappearance, (Pantheon, 1998) and Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod (Broadway Books, 2003). Her fiction includes the novels Mothers and Lovers (Roundabout Books), Lux (Little, Brown and Co.), Open Water, Family Night, (Pantheon), which received a PEN American/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Special Citation, and a collection of stories, You Have the Wrong Man (Pantheon, 1996). She has also published two collections of poetry, Sea Room and Reckless Wedding, winner of the Houghton Mifflin New Poetry Series and the G.L.C.A . New Writers Award. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, TriQuarterly, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere. She is Distinguished Writer-in Residence and teaches Fiction Writing in the M.F.A. program at Emerson College. She has taught fiction writing at Bennington Writing Seminars, University of North Carolina/Asheville, and Warren Wilson College. She is a regular faculty member at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown Summer Writing Programs.

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