Helen Ivers has just become president of a tiny little college literally in the middle of nowhere. The college is out of money, and falling apart, and Helen is falling apart too. With a lonely set of legs greeting her on her first visit, and a VERY helpful secretary, Helen will be the next victim if she doesn’t get her act together.
This author knows how to pack a punch. I was blown away by the way Karelia drew me into loving her protagonist and then added as many things as possible to her life that made me want to cringe away – just like watching the metaphorical train wreck (haha).
It isn’t ever clear to the reader who the true culprit is, except that it is a man (from the pronouns used in the parts that . The ‘red herrings’ that another reviewer complained of didn’t bother me. I found that it only added to the suspense, as one by one the potential killers are crossed off the list, and yet the victims remain in danger.
The denied romance between Wilson and Ivers added another layer of tension. Even as you wished Helen would give in to her desires, she doesn’t, and refuses to accept anything. The people Helen trusts are few, and as the reader can tell the killer is not a woman, the reader is pretty much driven mad by Helen’s refusal to trust Wilson.
What I would have liked more would have been if I got more background on how the killer came to come away from the asylum, be educated, and then go back to living nearby. Small town politics are one thing, covering up years of history is another.
Something I didn’t get a sense for was the time period of the novel. How many places still have a potentially deadly asylum and wells left in the forest? Especially in the USA, where surely things have been expanded into rapidly? But then I reflected on the homeless camp depicted in the novel and concluded that bad things still happen, and who knows what is lurking in the dark?
I’m not sure how convinced I am of the ending. I don’t mind things being left open, but without the promise of something more that is actually substantial, I don’t know how to feel. Imagine my surprise when I looked on GoodReads and discovered another novel containing Helen and Wilson. Let me at it!
I so want to discuss this novel further, I enjoyed it that much. But I don’t want to give away all of its secrets – go and get a copy for yourself.
I requested this novel from the author after very much enjoying two of her other novels (Something True and Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before). These are a set of books I wouldn’t hesitate recommending you to buy – and I’m fulling intending on getting my hands on more paperback copies of all her novels, for rereading again and again and again.