13 September 2013

Under a Silent Moon; Elizabeth Haynes

Under a Silent MoonUnder a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It appears that Ms. Haynes has decided to go in more of the procedural direction than in the psychological thriller direction, which is too bad as Into the Darkest Corner was really great. As a procedural writer, there's something a little missing.

There are several points-of-view here, but the majority of the investigation is told from that of Louisa, newly promoted to Detective Chief Inspector and still a little raw from her brief affair with married DI Andy Hamilton. The deaths of Polly and Barbara, neighbors, are the major investigation - are they connected? if so, why and how? or is this an awful coincidence? Intertwined are the stories of Flora (Polly's ex and daughter of the Man Most Likely To Come On Police Radar) and Brian, Barbara's husband.

The blurb says this is a mix of P.D. James and E.L. James and, well, there's more of the latter than the former but really? That's publicity-speak and only because they couldn't toss Henry into the James mix. Beyond that, the mystery is somewhat interesting with a few twists, but the denouement seems jimmied (see what I did there?) into the book. When a killer confesses in one of those "here's what I did and why" speeches I'm less impressed than if it's pure police work that figures it all out. For me, the loss of stars came because while there are twists, they aren't quite as big a surprise as one might have hoped for. Sadly, the author's first book remains her best - perhaps Barbara Vine is the better role model than anyone from the James family.

ARC provided by publisher.

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