Sunday, December 2, 2012

Up Close by Henriette Gyland

I have mixed feelings about this one. I liked some of it and didn't like some of it, but at the same time, must give the author an extra point for uniqueness.

Quick summary: Lia's grandmother has passed away. She heads back to her England to settle the estate and it comes to light that someone may have murdered her grandmother. Was it her mother? Was it a stranger? In the background, there's an issue with bombs on military bases. Lia thinks she knows who is responsible. She meets a sexy artist and takes up diving, all the while dredging up the past and slowly uncovering a mystery, a little Jack Russell terrier at her side.

Because of this: 'A romantic suspense story in the tradition of Hitchcock which won the New Talent Award at the 2011 Festival of Romance.' I was expecting more suspense/thriller/fear than it contained. I'm a huge Hitchcock fan.

Up CloseStrangers on a Train, it is not. Matter of fact, it doesn't get mysterious and suspenseful until about 20% into the novel. That is my number one complaint. I was really bored in the beginning as the heroine gets situated in her grandmother's house, learns to work a stove, chatters with nosy neighbors and old friends.  I found the book pretty long-winded at times, to be honest. You can skim and not miss much.

BUT onto the good stuff. When it does get into the mystery, it's a good one. This is hard to say with a mystery as I must be careful not to reveal too much... The ending. I saw one twist coming from the moment the heroine almost hit a man in the street... BUT I was convinced someone else had done the crimes and was still surprised. There was also a paternity issues I wasn't quite sure of, and I love to be kept guessing so I liked that too.

I found the heroine's attitude toward her grandmother's death to be a put off at first, but it was very well explained as I kept reading. There's lots of past bits, family anger, and discovering oneself. I especially liked how Lia makes some very deep reflections and life changes as the story unfolds.

I appreciate that the author brought PTSD into the story. It IS indeed a serious illness and more should and could be done for the soldiers experiencing it. I can't say I agree with the hero's fanaticism on the subject and intense hatred for the military though. I was put off by that as well, because I come from a very military-oriented family.

Three bikes. I was given a copy of this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I recommend it to anyone seeking a mystery at a slow pace full of family secrets.

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