Did You See Melody? Kindle Edition
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This book was a bit of a game of two halves. The beginning, especially the description of the resort (jealous, much!) and the initial character introductions and scene setting were quite light and much slower paced compared with what followed later when things got a bit out of control. Cara's motivation for running away was understandable and I did feel for her but I think she did somewhat over react especially with regard to the family's financial situation and I wasn't completely convinced by it, but as it was the reason she was where she was, and I couldn't think of any other credible way that the author could have put her there, especially with what happened later, so I swallowed my niggle and went along for the ride.
What I did love about the book was Cara's research into Melody's case using all the power of the internet and social media to glean the information she was looking for. It appeared to be a trial by media in some respects. These clips and transcripts and social media commentary really enhanced the narrative, complementing plot and adding so much background to the eventual reveal, when we found out what was really going on. And when we did eventually get to the truth it really was quite shocking the way it was all so carefully worked out and executed by the characters involved. I'd love to go further into this but I can't for fear of spoilers.
Other characters that really stood out for me were mother and daughter Tarin and Zellie. As well as adding to the story, they also injected some really great humour into the mix. On the flip side, I really didn't like TV host Bonnie Juno and the way she she tried to manipulate things. Living in the UK I can't imagine trials like this playing out in the media as much as they obviously do in the US. Sometimes quite shockingly so. Very scary times.
All in all, it was a mostly satisfying read that kept my attention nicely when it eventually got going after the relatively slow start. Well worth persevering with and I am glad that I did.
My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
We live in an era where the majority of media outlets is no longer focused on reporting the truth or any semblance of it. Instead fiction becomes fact, fame and notoriety are more important than reporting what really happened. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of celebrity.
The 21st century has seen the rise of TV showmen and women, as opposed to the revered journalists of the 20th century. Nancy Grace is a great example of this gaudy and dangerous phenomenon, and one that is mentioned in the story.
The character of Bonnie Juno is based on the Nancy Grace types of sensationalistic journalism. The facts are twisted to suit the narrative of whomever they have picked to be the target of the day. Interviews become as twisted as twizzlers and as sticky as a fly trap.
In this scenario the guilty party is discovered and proven guilty by trial via public opinion. In the end it doesn’t matter whether there isn’t enough evidence to prove they did it, because the TV viewers have already been told they are guilty. This anything but objective opinion continues on through to the courtroom.
Cara has decided to escape reality and the uncomfortable stress at home by treating herself to a few days in a five star spa hotel in the US. The tired and upset Cara accidentally stumbles upon a man and young girl, only to find out the next day that the young girl in question has been dead for quite a few years. Did she imagine it, is someone having a laugh or is it just a case of mistaken identity? Did she see Melody?
What emerges from this one simple question is a myriad of crimes and even more unanswered questions. Guilt isn’t a clear concept in this story. Would you commit a crime to prevent another? Do you believe the court of public opinion instead of checking all the available facts? Do two wrongs make a right?
I’m sure this story will make readers wonder about the choices they would make if confronted with the same situation. Begs the question whether, in a world full of police states and dictatorships, some of us have to be strong enough to be vigilantes, because the justice systems fails victims on a regular basis.
It’s a read that gives plenty of food for thought.
*I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley.*