Jennifer Weiner. Atria, $26 (376pp) ISBN 978-0-7434-7011-7
Chick Lit star Weiner's fourth novel, following In Her Shoes (2002), which has been adapted as a major motion picture starring Cameron Diaz, follows bored, upper-middle class, suburbanite mother of three Kate Klein as she becomes entangled in a local murder case. When Kate discovers the stabbed body of neighbor Kitty Cavanaugh, her pursuit of the killer gives Kate's mundane life a new sense of purpose, but her zeal puts pressure on her already wobbly marriage to Ben. She charges on, however, aided by best friend Janie, the chic, fearless daughter of a multi-millionaire. Kate soon uncovers Kitty's second life, centered on Kitty's search for her real father, entailing an investigation of several powerful men. Things are further complicated by the reappearance of Evan McKenna, Kate's unrequited love interest of the past seven years, who is a charming part-time private investigator, the exact opposite of Ben. Linked to the case through work he'd done for Kitty, Evan joins Kate on the mystery, and his seductive presence leaves her torn. While Weiner's characters are passionate, affecting and poignant, the murder mystery is less compelling. Too many false conclusions leave the reader tired by the time the real killer is revealed. The ending is also hard to believe. But Weiner's readers will root for Kate, whose humor and warmth amidst her struggles to transcend the roles of mom and wife make her a loveable, fully realized character.
Reviewed on: 09/01/2005