Prather’s Pick: A thriller with some romance, too
August 26, 2014
Last week, I read three novels for adults, and all three kept me engrossed to the very last page. This week's "Prather's Pick" features one of the books. (I'll do the others eventually.) "Last to Know" was written by Elizabeth Adler, the author of 29 novels. The publisher is Minotaur Books (2014).
The prologue of the novel grabbed my attention because its narrator is a killer. There's going to be a murder; the killer says so and he or she even reveals the name of the victim. It's Rose Osborne, and the reader will learn why later on. Furthermore, the killer claims to be quite normal — a person the reader would not recognize as being evil. The killer promises that the reader will learn more later on. Indeed! The killer "speaks" to the reader six more times, in chapters that are interspersed throughout the book.
The novel opens at 3 a.m. one morning. Harry Jordan, Boston's homicide detective, is vacationing at Evening Lake, Massachusetts. He's spending some time at his grandfather's fishing shack to try to get away from the stabbings, shootings and killings. The cabin is right next to the lake, but Harry isn't the only one there. He has neighbors next to him and even some across the lake.
The Osbornes live a couple of houses down. That's where Rose Osborne lives. Her husband, Wally, is a famous author of horror books. Their four children include 18-year-old Roman, 16-year-old twin girls and Diz, who is 11. Diz likes to spend time up in the branches of a fig tree that grows right outside his bedroom window. From there Diz can see everything. (Later on, Diz figures into the plot is a big way.)
Harry is attracted to Rose, but that's as far as it goes. Not only is Rose married, but Harry is engaged to Mallory Malone, the girl of his dreams. That's the second reason that Harry is at the lake. Mallory has "had it" with Harry's long work hours, especially at night. She's not so happy with Squueze, Harry's Malamute dog, either. He pushes his way into the front seat of the car where he rides shotgun with Harry, leaving Mallory to ride in the back. So Mallory has left for Paris.
At 3 a.m. Harry is awakened by Squeeze who insists that something is wrong. So in a few minutes, Harry and Squeeze are walking along the lake. Just then the phone rings. It's Mallory. As Harry talks to her he can't help by notice that a boat is "sliding silently across the lake." Harry thinks that it must be Lou Doutzer, the local "oddball." Harry promises Mallory that he will fly to France tomorrow and hangs up. But then he hears the sound of another set of oars. He watches as Wally Osborne brings a boat into the Osborne jetty. Wally heads to the house. Then Roman comes out of the woods, trying to stay out of his dad's sight.
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Then suddenly there's a pink glow in the sky across the lake. That's where a blonde woman and her 18-year-old daughter live. The young girl stands in the doorway of the big house. She's screaming. Then there's an explosion that knocks Harry to the ground. The young woman's hair is on fire. She jumps into the lake.
Harry isn't the only one observing the explosion. Diz has seen it, too. He helps Harry rescue the girl who whispers, "My mother."
That's the way the novel begins. But shortly Harry will be investigating a murder. He engages his detective buddy Carlo Rossetti in the murder investigation. What about Harry's promise to meet Mallory in Paris?
The plot of this novel is fast-paced. The characters are interesting and well-developed. If you enjoy reading thrillers, this book is for you.
"Last to Know" costs $25.99 in hardcover. You can also find the book at the Moffat County Library with the new books.