In this tale about three seemingly separate murders committed years apart, Jan Maxwell’s skillful narration ranges from intimate (when detailing the characters’ backstories) to cold and clinical (when describing the characters’ bad behavior). Since the novel, set in New York, involves murder in triplicate, the cast is extraordinarily large—with some characters connected to the long-ago disappearance of a young waitress, some to the not-so-long-ago drowning of a social worker, and still others to a more recent explosion at protagonist Hannah Connelly’s family-owned furniture store. That explosion took the life of former employee Gus Schmidt and left Hannah’s sister Kate in a coma. Maxwell carefully provides each character with a unique voice. For example, Hannah’s initially quiet speech takes on a gradually increasing edginess the closer she comes to uncovering the identities of the villains and revealing her family’s secrets. Gus’s aged widow has just enough of a Germanic accent to suggest her European roots. The rest of the players are given fully imagined voices, from Hannah’s self-centered father, whose florid bombast is often slurred by drink, to a homeless Vietnam vet whose native New York accent is spoken with a thick tongue and inflected by mental and physical illness. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (April)
Reviewed on: 05/27/2013 Release date: 04/01/2013 Genre: Audio
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