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A fantastically woven tale
on July 8, 2011
Christopher Thomas feels as if he's on top of the world. He's got the looks, the smarts, the prestigious job, the dutiful wife, the ladies on the side, and most importantly, he's got the money. But, in reality, is all of that enough? Apparently not for Christopher, as he appears to also have a secret life. One that not only gives him a certain amount of exhilaration, but also brings with it a great deal of danger. On the eve of an event at his art gallery, after being seen with another woman by his wife, Christopher is never seen again. At least alive that is. Not too long later, his body is found stuffed and decaying in the Iron Maiden in a Berlin museum.
Christopher's wife, Rosemary Thomas was content with her life. She enjoyed her job, had two beautiful children, and had family money to provide well for her and her family. What she didn't have was a husband who adored her, loved her, doted on her, anymore. Yes, she knew about his little dalliances, and as long as it wasn't thrown in her face, she didn't care too much. She didn't really want to put her children through the travesty of a divorce. But when she sees a woman flirting with her husband at an event she loses it and cannot handle the public shame. She confronts him and a fight ensues. When they both leave the event, it's the last time Christopher is seen alive. Due to her being the last one seen with Christopher and some circumspect evidence, she is quickly arrested, tried, and executed for his murder. Rosemary died as she lived, with grace and dignity. Knowing in her heart what the truth was.
Now, ten years have passed since Rosemary's execution, and Jon Nunn, the lead detective on the case, is riddled with guilt and doubt. Could he possibly have sent an innocent person to her death? It's the one case he can never let go of, the one case that has chewed him up inside, the one case that has cost him everything - his wife, his job, and the life that he once knew. And when he gets a letter from Rosemary's old friend, Tony Olsen, inviting everyone to a memorial to honor her death (per the instructions in her will), he realizes that it is the perfect time to have all of the suspects assembled in once place.
As the letters arrive to each of the guests inviting them to the memorial (how tacky to celebrate the execution of a murderess!), each of those invited begins to feel a bit more uncomfortable. And some are even harassed and/or threatened to keep quiet. Will the secrets they've tried so desperately to keep hidden finally be exposed? Peter (Rosemary's brother) and Stan (a lawyer) know that there is no way their secret will be found out. Sarah (formerly married to Jon and now married to Stan) is starting to realize that her first husband just might not be so crazy after all. Belle is an artist and good friend of Rosemary's. Rosemary gave her a chance when no one else would. She has something very important to say at the memorial, and won't be scared away from doing so. Then someone is hurt and there is an attempt to rob the gallery. Are these acts a distraction to shut everyone up for good, a "simple" armed robbery, or is there something even more sinister going on? Something that no one would ever imagine?
The gathering of the suspects at the memorial will lead you to think that the big "Perry Mason" moment is coming. When they're all standing around and the killer will be revealed. Someone will say the wrong thing without realizing it, a hidden clue is found, a glance is given in the wrong direction. Instead, what you get is more twists, more turns, and more questions than you have answers for. And just when you think you've got it all figured out, think again. And then again and again and again.
When I read the preview for this book I was immediately enticed. So many great authors all in one place?! A readers dream come true. Was it possible for twenty-five different authors to write one seamless story? I would quickly find out that the answer was - Heck yeah! Each author writes a different chapter in the book, and each one begins with the name of the author penning that particular chapter. Since some of my favorite authors (Faye Kellerman, Sandra Brown, Tess Gerritsen, to name a few) took part in this fantastic endeavor, I thought I would be able to differentiate their writing, their voice, from the authors that I don't know as well. That just wasn't the case. All of these authors worked so well together that the chapters blended into one another beautifully. I'd love to know how it was done. Did one author write an outline the others worked off of? Did one author write a chapter and then pass if off to the next in line? Who decided which chapter each other would write? Did all of the authors know how it would end (by an outline), or did only the authors of the last few chapters know where the book would go? If the authors name wasn't at the beginning of each chapter, I would never have known that this book was written by so many different people. They all came together to emit one strong, fantastically woven tale.