This is a who dunnit that verges on the why they dunnit, with what felt like a cast of thousands. I had a bit of trouble keeping them all straight, but frankly I think that was the fault of the reader (that would be me) more than the author, because really the characters were all strong enough to stay individuated in my head. (You gotta give me points for ‘individuated’. When was the last time you came across that word, huh?)
The story is told in the first person by various characters. Maybe that’s what threw me off. I had to keep checking to see who was talking. (I’m sorry. I confuse easily. I like to think of it as part of my charm.) Dan, a successful securities trader, retires after his daughter….no, step daughter…… no, she’s not that either. She is the daughter of his ex-wife and her new husband. One day when the girl was a young teenager (I think) mom drops her off for a weekend at Dan’s. Why would she do this? He is no relation to the girl. This was never really fully explained. Anyway, mom never comes back for the kid. The kid, nor Dan, seem to mind, really, and in college she is all into investigative journalism or something and in the course of investigating something, accidentally falls off a steep cliff and dies. It is ruled an accidental death and that’s the end of that.
Except it isn’t. Dan is convinced that there is more to it and that she didn’t just fall and sets off after her funeral to discover just what happened.
Also involved in the search are Luke, and a young girl whose name I forget, and the elusive Steve, who never does turn up. Everyone is looking for Steve because his apartment got trashed (he’s a college student, so how would you know, right?), and everyone is off on a hustle to find him for some answers. Meanwhile, there is a guy named Tony with a very ill father in a nursing home, and the old geezer mails off some incriminating stuff because he wants to put things right before he dies. What things? Uh oh. So
Then there are some thugs chasing around, and guns, and so we seem to have three different groups running around trying to stop each other from finding out this or that or something else, and it is a real mess. No wonder I was confused.
It all comes to a dandy finale in one big scene, so at least we know that all’s well that ends more or less well.
This was my least favorite of Febry’s books. I felt it lacked her characteristic quirky and noir undertone and the out-of-the-blue twist her work usually has. It was a thriller-wannabe, and I would have been happier if it had been shorter. Not to say it wasn’t good or that I didn’t like it. It was and I did. But I just think her others were ever so much better. (And I have no idea what the bloody barbed wire on the cover has to do with the storyline.)