Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Evidence of Life
On the last ordinary day of her life, Abby Bennett feels like the luckiest woman alive. But everyone knows that luck doesn't last forever…As her husband, Nick, and daughter, Lindsey, embark on a weekend camping trip to the Texas Hill Country, Abby looks forward to having some quiet time to herself. She braids Lindsey's hair, reminds Nick to drive safely and kisses them both goodbye. For a brief moment, Abby thinks she has it all—a perfect marriage, a perfect life—until a devastating storm rips through the region, and her family vanishes without a trace.

When Nick and Lindsey are presumed dead, lost in the raging waters, Abby refuses to give up hope. Consumed by grief and clinging to her belief that her family is still alive, she sets out to find them. But as disturbing clues begin to surface, Abby realizes that the truth may be far more sinister than she imagined. Soon she finds herself caught in a current of lies that threaten to unhinge her and challenge everything she once believed about her marriage and family.

With a voice that resonates with stunning clarity, Barbara Taylor Sissel delivers a taut and chilling mystery about a mother's love, a wife's obsession and the invisible fractures that can shatter a family.

This book started off well, lots of potential in the first few chapters. For a mystery/thriller, it was a really good start, quickly establishing the characters, the setting, never detailing things in excess which can slow down the plot. The tension started at once, so that the reader immediately got a sense that things were just a bit off. As I said, great beginning.

The problem with this book is that once the mystery starts, nothing really new happens. We get a few clues here and there, but it’s hard to maintain the tension without adding much plot. And that’s the problem. Nothing much happens after the first few chapters. The same information is recycled over and over from different sources and we get nothing fresh until close to the end, when everything seems to happen at once.

What really bugged me, though, was the lack of cohesion at the end. So many things were left unresolved, or at least unexplained, that it made me wonder why I bothered to read the book at all. There was no sense of closure at all. I’ve run across this many times in this genre, so maybe it’s something inherently difficult to do with thrillers, but it still should be required for the author to provide a proper ending.

I’d pass on this one and read something else.

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