|Hi, Honey." He gave the tiny figure a big hug. The child"|
returned the embrace and held out a large water-filled bag.
"Oh. The piranhas. You got them. Thank you so much, baby."
The girl's countenance brightened...
"This is my daughter that I told you all about. This is Eva."
Eva was so pale and thin that she appeared to be about 11...
To Lauren, the girl's voice sounded prickly like a teenager's.
"I know why Romy left on Gloomy Sunday." Lauren drew back
as her heart dropped in glass shards, her hand stuck out like a
manikin in a failed catch. Eyes watering and nose stinging,
she watched Zelda lead Sissy [Eva] toward the door..."
Image by Ivan Constantin via Flickr
By Brenda Wallace
Be prepared... This novel is not for everybody--if you don't like heavy, deeply complex puzzles that requires readers pay attention and follow the trail, then this book is not for you...But if you are a solver, if you want to follow clues and figure out what is happening, then this novel is highly recommended. The main topic is an important one for me--it has touched the lives of many children, including myself, and remains something that people don't want to talk about... But if nobody talks about it, will it ever stop? I applaud Brenda Wallace for taking readers into that silent place where children are abused sexually, often by relatives... Wallace takes the ending of her novel to provide some details about this subject, but it does not interfere with the story line in any way... Please note that each story is different--this story may include more graphic information so you are warned. Readers, if you don't fully understand what is happening daily to children across the world, you need to read this book.
Besides that, it is a great puzzle story similar to treasure chase movies and books you have probably enjoyed.
Lauren James is the main character, a psychiatrist who is trying to pull her life together again after the death of her husband, a well-known child psychologist and author. What nobody knows except for Lauren and a friend is that her husband committed suicide and this information was hidden at the time of his death. But Lauren is still so confused and wonders what would cause him to leave her as he did...
On the back were six hangmen with X's for eyes and handwritten was Six Guesses Each...After going through more information and thought and rearrangement of what was there... Lauren and her sister worked on it together, discovering more until finally her sister suggested they call the police.
Lauren's opinion was that it was a challenge from Mensa and she needed to solve the puzzle. Finally, she had looked more closely at the envelope and discovered that something else was there...a copy of the suicide note left by her husband! But who had sent this and how did anybody in Mensa know what had really happened. Lauren knew she had to solve the puzzle!
Until she realized that it told her how many minutes she had to live...
Lauren attended the next meeting of Mensa and was trying to confirm not only her acceptance, but talk with others about receiving the puzzle and what it meant. That evening she met several members, one of which explained that she thought the dots were related to astronomy, and some constellation, explaining where the Big Dipper and Ursa Major were...
On their next meeting, she met Caleb, the astronomer and someone who soon became a good friend, with both of them thinking maybe more, but Caleb was still married. Fortunately Caleb was a good, kind man and was there for Lauren as she continued receiving more of the puzzle. Pieces that ultimately led her to a child's grave and by accident to learn that the baby was named Lauren also...
On and on she went, discovering more, until she learned of a cruise where participants would be watching an eclipse. On board, she discovered one of the Mensa group was there and also met a young man who had brought a group of children from his church to learn more about becoming astronauts. Lauren had been attracted to Caleb, now she was to this man as well--perhaps she really was beginning her new life...
But she kept getting more emails or packages, each having to be considered solved, or held in memory to add as a clue at the right time. Can you keep each clue in mind as you try to solve the puzzle along with Lauren? Well, I can tell you that I never would have thought of the way this story ends. Even if I told you in advance, that sexual abuse is involved, I believe you will still be as surprised as I was as the ending unfolds. Yes, unfolds, because there is much more to the ending than the norm......
If you enjoy or want to learn about astronomy, I think you would especially enjoy this book. A psychological suspense thriller that will keep you totally involved with solving the puzzles, so much so that you may not be able to even consider the characters adequately, just as Lauren, the psychiatrist, could not. Who is the sociopath? I dare you to name that character before revealed! I didn't solve any of the puzzles...but I should have picked up on some of the signs...The fact that I didn't shows the complexity and skill the author has used in her novel--Pay attention, or you might, too, think this book is not worth reading as seen from other reviewers...You will be very wrong! In fact, I'd like to see Angelina Jolie play Lauren in the movie! She'll add some fancy gimmicks to the script just as she did playing Lara Croft in Tomb Raider!
I am an avid reader and the author of the mystery thriller Brilliant Prey and two more books coming soon. I have scrutinized thousands of psychiatric and psychological case studies in my work as a staff attorney and draw from those mental patterns and a former private practice for plot twists and character quirks. I am happy to be a member of the Oklahoma Outlaws, Sisters in Crime, Mensa, and the National Romance Writers of America. You are welcome to visit me at www.brendawallace.com or read my blogs at www.brendabwallace.blogspot.com.