Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Narration by: Jen Cohn
Publisher: Harper Audio.
Favorite character: Phoebe Hall.
All in all: A light read and interesting enough plot to keep me listening and attentive.
Synopsis: Phoebe Hall's Manhattan life has suddenly begun to unravel. Right after her long-term boyfriend breaks off their relationship, she's falsely accused of plagiarizing her latest bestselling celebrity biography. Looking for a quiet place to put her life back together, Phoebe jumps at the offer to teach in a sleepy Pennsylvania town at a small private college run by her former boarding school roommate and close friend, Glenda Johns.
But behind the campus's quiet cafes and leafy maple trees lie evil happenings. The body of a female student washes up on the banks of a nearby river, and disturbing revelations begin to surface: accusations from coeds about abuses wrought by a secret society of girls on campus known as The Sixes... To help Glenda, Phoebe embarks on a search for clues--a quest that soon raises painful memories of her own boarding school days years ago.
As the investigation heats up, Phoebe unexpectedly finds herself falling for the school's handsome psychology professor, Duncan Shaw. But when nasty pranks turn into deadly threats, Phoebe realizes she's in the middle of a real-life nightmare, not knowing whom she can trust and if she will even survive.
Plunging deeper into danger with every step, Phoebe knows she's close to unmasking a killer. But with truth comes a terrifying revelation: your darkest secrets can still be uncovered . . . and starting over may be a crime punishable by death. ~Goodreads.com
My Thoughts: I thought there was going to be a supernatural element to this book. I must have skimmed the back too fast. Plus the cover just screams scary doesn't it? While there really isn't anything spooky or otherworldy going on, it is still a fun mystery.
What I really appreciated is that Phoebe is over 40, so a main character to be mature and not a young gamine was a novelty for me. Phoebe's maturity in how she handles most situations (a breakup with her long term boyfriend, difficult conversations) is laudible. On the other hand, I didn't totally connect with her. She is likeable, but perhaps not totally believable.
I like the whole plot line of a secret society and I feel that the author did a good job of creating the mysterious and sinister actions that this particular group, The Sixes, could get away with. However, I wish they played an even larger role. Interspersed with the present story are memories of Phoebe's own run-in with a secret society in prep school. While the final "prank" they pulled on her was horrific, I didn't feel that this past situation is explored as much as I would have liked
The audio was fairly well done. While I didn't love the deliberateness of most of the book, like the main character's speech, I did enjoy most of the co-eds that the narrator portrayed. They seemed much more natural.
Ironically, Phoebe was accused of plagiarizing and while her research assistant was at fault and owned up to it, Phoebe also took responsibility for the fact that she wasn't paying close enough attention and that she should have hired a research assistant with more experience. It didn't seem that she was totally exonerated and I questioned why this wouldn't garner more drama on a college campus. Would the powers that be allow someone who was even accused of plagiarism to teach at their college? Wouldn't they think that even if she wasn't guilty the scandal would taint their academic integrity? I don't have the answers, this was just something I wondered.
The romance presented another mystery within itself, because of course, there is always the chance that the new lover is the murderer. I really wanted to see where that thread went and I couldn't decide if I really wanted it to be him or not.
The writing is simple yet effective. While there was some telling and over detailing of food, I felt that the strength of the story is the mystery. It is a bit predictable with a lot of red herrings and false leads and suspicions, but not too difficult to figure out. However, it kept me interested and made me care enough to find out the answers to all the questions presented.