Top critical review
Nice premise. Questionable execution.
on October 6, 2013
I liked the premise of this story a lot, and I was interested enough in the underlying plot to keep reading, but there were so many odd little details that didn't make sense, I was constantly being pulled out of the story to wonder at them.
First of all, mechanics: there's a place where Violet is suddenly referred to as Audrey. And the formatting of the newspaper articles was nearly impossible to read on my Kindle, because there were only two letters on each line. But those things in and of themselves are very minor. What really drives me crazy are hiccups in the story, where the continuity is interrupted and never explained. Examples (may include very mild spoilers):
1. After Roberta passes out at Lyle's house, she wakes up in the hospital. So apparently, the cops found a 17-year old girl on the scene of a murder/suicide. They take her to the hospital, where she isn't admitted (even though she's still unconscious), but is instead just placed on a bed in a private room and then forgotten. Once she wakes up, she wanders randomly around the hospital, making small talk and visiting her boyfriend (who's in a coma). First of all, either the cops and/or the hospital staff would have *immediately* contacted her mother, since she's a minor. And second, wouldn't the cops want to question her about the two dead bodies on the scene? Or the note found under hand which proves a connection to the odd string of murders and suicides going on in their neighboring town? Apparently not.
2. Not long after this, Roberta leaves the hospital and drives to the neighboring town to consult with the sheriff. HOW does she do this? Her mother's car was last seen at Lyle's house (which seemed fairly secluded). Now, I can imagine the cops might have a) left the car there, b) had it towed, or c) contacted the owner of the car (Roberta's mother) to take care of it. The one thing I'm sure they would not have done is drive it down and park it conveniently outside the hospital for her. (And even if they did, where did they leave her keys? In her pocket? Didn't she stop to wonder about any of this? And what about her cell phone? She uses it when it's convenient for the storyline, but never uses it when it would make sense, like when she's trapped in her car with a madman right outside.)
3. Back up at the cabin, before she passed out, Lyle pointed the gun at Roberta, and she wet her pants. She feels it running down her leg, which indicates to me this wasn't just a couple of drops of urine, but a full release of her bladder. (The text says, "as her bladder let go.") After which, she passes out, then wakes up in the hospital, visits her boyfriend, cries a LOT. Then she has a weird dream (on the couch in the hospital lobby), and goes and hangs out with her (now awake) boyfriend. They kiss and cuddle and talk about their horrifying experience. Then she makes the Ezra connection and runs off to see the Sheriff (despite not having a car), who points out that she hasn't been home since the day before. Yes, it's been that long, and her mom has called him because she has no idea where Roberta is, no thanks to the cops or the hospital staff, or the sheriff. Despite all this, he doesn't call her mom to check in, or take her straight home. They stop on the way to have a hamburger, for crying out loud. And all this time, the only thing I could think was, "You're still wearing your pee pants!" Seriously, did NOBODY say, "Hey, honey? You smell like urine. You might want to run home and change your pants."?
These were the most blatant examples, but certainly not the only strange inconsistencies. They may seem very minor to some readers, but unfortunately, these types of things ruin the reading experience for me. I like to be sucked into a story when I'm reading. I like to be so lost in the world that I don't come up for breath until it's over. And I can't do that when I'm constantly stopping to jump over plot holes.