The Start of Everything

Emily Winslow. Delacorte, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-0-385-34290-2
A misaddressed letter connects the threads of Winslow’s sometimes compelling but ultimately frustrating second novel (after The Whole World). When a badly decomposed body is discovered in a fen near Cambridge University, the case lands with Det. Insp. Chloe Frohmann and her partner, Det. Chief Insp. Morris Keene, recently back on the job after a violent encounter with a suspect left him with limited use of his right hand. In the Cambridge registrar’s office, Mathilde Oliver, who seems to have something akin to Asperger’s, becomes obsessed with a series of letters written by a man named Stephen to a woman named Katja, whose connection to the nameless corpse soon emerges. The detectives wrestle with demons both personal and professional, including Chloe’s misplaced guilt over Morris’s injury, as their search leads to a renovated manor house and the twisted lives of its inhabitants. Despite the characters’ flashes of depth, the excessively complicated plot makes for slow-going. Agent: Cameron McClure, Donald Maass Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/19/2012
Release date: 01/08/2013
Genre: Fiction
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