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Winslow Keeps Messing With Us
on April 4, 2013
Emily Winslow concentrates so hard to fool the reader that in the end, the reader isn't quite sure what the heck happened. This is rather surprising, considering the number of people Winslow credits in her acknowledgments.
Apparently none of them had the guts to tell her clarity was suffering due to the inordinate amount of twists.
THE START OF EVERYTHING is set in England, near or on the Cambridge campus. A dead girl's body is found in a flooded area. Newly promoted Detective Inspector Chloe Frohmann and her partner Morris Keene are assigned to the case. That's the other problem I had with the book. There's too much emphasis on Keene's apparent PTS. He was knifed in the stomach and hand during an "interview" with a suspect. His right hand is useless; Chloe is supposed to report back to her superior on Keene's progress. She feels the other cops blame her for what happened to Keene in the first place. Winslow loses focus, and the reader is annoyed that she's not concentrating on the case.
At the beginning of the book, there's another character, Mathilde Oliver, who works part time at the registrar's office. She may be the strangest character in the book. She doesn't like to be touched; she doesn't like to sit next to other people. She sounds like she may have a touch of autism. She's also trying to deliver some letters to a girl named "Katja" from a man named Stephen. She soon makes the connection to the dead girl in the fens.
About three quarters through the book these weird twins show up. One is a professor at Cambridge. He's also a psycho, but the bobbies get his evil doings mixed up with the fens case. Worse yet, one of them is named Stephen; the Stephen in the letter has already been identified, but we have to wonder whether Winslow is messing with us again. And to make things worse, Winslow keeps jumping back and forth in time. The dead girl is suddenly alive; the evil twin's vendetta is revealed etc.
Word of warning. You're going to have to read that last chapter several times. Apparently Winslow pulls another twist at the last minute, and we're still not sure who killed the girl in the fens.
I didn't think it was possible for an author to beat Jeffery Deaver in respect to twists and turns, but I was wrong; Emily Winslow has him beat by a furlong, and that's not a good thing.