NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Friday, August 12, 2011

Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian

4.0 out of 5 stars Predictable but entertaining...

Alice Haywood is found dead by strangulation in the family home the night after her baptism. Her husband -- a brute who beat and abused her regularly -- is also there, but he died of a what appears to be a gunshot wound. Was it self-inflicted or is there someone else who entered the house that night and murdered George Haywood after he had passed out in a drunken stupor?

I enjoyed this mystery about an apparent murder-suicide of a married couple though, probably since I read so many, I was able to solve the whodunit after the second chapter. Even though it was predictable to me, I did like the way the author told the story in 4 parts through four of the main characters so that the reader could see the different points of view. I could have done without all the "angel" stuff as I really didn't find it germane or very interesting as I don't think it added anything to the story line. In fact, I thought it detracted from the thriller.

Part of this novel examines the day to day life of an abused woman and how that violence affects her daughter. In addition, it reminds the reader that we rarely know what goes on behind the closed doors of our neighbors, relatives, and friends. "None of us ever knows as much as we think we do" regardless of how many confidences are shared and how much time is spent around other people. Even what is said in secret might be suspect as many tend to hide, to prevaricate, or to lie -- perhaps minimizing or maximizing an event or situation.

I have read most all of this author's books and look forward eagerly to see what topic or issue he tackles next! Recommend to all current fans and encourage those who haven't read him to try one. They're all different so be sure to read the synopses first. My favorites: Skeletons at the Feast, Midwives: A Novel, Trans-Sister Radio: A Novel and Before You Know Kindness.

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