Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Heart to Dorothy M. Place...Say What?!?

"Hey Clayton, what are you doing in the office on Saturday?"
"Just trying to get away from my wife's honey-do list." He reached into his desk drawer, pulled out a cigar and lit it. "You got here just in time for my afternoon break."
"I think you like me to come down here just so you can smoke," Sarah teased. She eased herself into one of the Queen Anne's chairs. "Al and I went to the lake today to look around."
"Heard you were at his place Friday night."
Sarah flushed. How did he know? She searched for some sassy reply but none came."
"Discover anything at the lake? About the murder I mean." Clayton looked at her over his cigar and gave her a sly wink. He was teasing but he touched a soft nerve. Her hand swept over her arm where Al's fingers had tightened when he wiped away the blood from the mosquito bite.
"Al took notes, I supplied the ride. It was sad being at the place where it happened. I thought JoBeth loved those kids."
"People kill for love, don't they?"
Clayton inhaled and blew smoke at the ceiling. He was playing Socrates, and she liked it. She wanted to examine all the possible reasons, tear them apart, and piece them together into something that, if not exonerating JoBeth, at least made sense so that everyone would understand why it happened. It was a game Al had refused to play.
"I don't know," she replied. "JoBeth killed those she loved, but killing for love? I'm not so sure. Perhaps it is the pain of love that drove her into irrational behavior."
"Is there a difference?" Clayton asked.
"Intuitively, I'd have to say it doesn't seem to be the same thing. I guess if you kill someone you love, the act could be an accident."
"yes, I suppose so."
"But if you kill for love or for the pain of loving, it might involve vengeance, even premeditation. The first could be unintentional. Not the second."
"You might have something there," Clayton rolled the cigar in the ash tray. "Maybe we'll find out by the end of the trial."
"I'd like to think so...

The Heart to Kill

By Dorothy M. Place

And then it ended...right in the midst of a trial...right in the midst of family drama...of small-town drama...and...reading error after error of uncorrected mistakes. After reading a thank you page at the end where the author thanked everybody and his brother...all of whom having the opportunity and apparently not the skill to ensure a flawless, error-free book... Even the bio on the back cover said, "The author lives and writes in Davis, California. A research director and statistician by training, she began a creative writing??? ah, career??? or should the "a"  have been deleted, as I suspect? It seems even the Stephen F. Austin State University Press does not provide a properly edited/proofread final printed book...

I'm beginning to want to give extra points to those who diligently ensure their books are perfect...rather than just make a statement for those who do not take final responsibility for their own product. Believe me, the majority of the books I get do not have a significant number of errors, such as this one had...

The thing is...I was thoroughly enjoying the story, even up to the point where the surprise everybody knew about was revealed in court to the main character...

Why oh why would the author choose not to finish the trial... On her site, she writes:

In the end, Sarah discovers the underlying issues that precipitated her friend’s murderous act. Through interviews with JoBeth, her mother, her former lover, and her work associates, her ex-husband’s mistress as well as the testimony given during the trial, the horrifying events that shaped JoBeth’s life are revealed, helping Sarah understand how a person can be driven to extremes that defy ordinary reasoning. Sarah and her friend, it is the betrayal by those they love and believe in that changes their lives forever. Ultimately, it means disgrace and imprisonment for JoBeth. But for Sarah, who decides against returning to law school, it is the beginning of a life in which she, not her father, manages her future.

Ahhhh, Excuse me, I did enjoy the character Sarah and the issues that affected her. In fact, it reminded me of the book I had just read where individuals, Sarah, had stopped listening to her own voice, but totally allowed her father to dominate her life, even to the point that she was afraid and lied to prevent having to tell him that she didn't get an internship which he had arranged...

But... putting the result of a trial within a blurb is, in my opinion, totally unacceptable... Here's JoBeth, on trial for killing her two children... But she clearly stated earlier in the book that she wanted to live in order to allow people to know why she killed them...Not only did the trial not continue, we never get the chance to have JoBeth tell the court, the jury and the world how years of sexual abuse, betrayal by her parents and lovers, and her boss (an important man in her early life as Sarah's best friend) had affected her mentally and resulted in what happened to the children. A fact that we never fully have explained...

I don't know about you, but having women in jail for killing their children, is a "today" issue that many have seen on television and become totally involved with as they learned what happened. Excuse me for thinking that readers will become more involved with the trial than with whether "poor" Sarah finally grew up and took over her own life... Come on, there is no comparison between the lives of the two women and the resulting conclusion for "both" of them as the only way to end this book...

Or am I totally misreading this? The Heart to Kill has been done many times, especially by spouses who help their partners die without pain... Surely, readers need to know that the town, the jury...and readers...were able to move through the trial and hopefully see that what had happened to JoBeth resulted in the elimination of 1st degree murder as the final option... If not? Well, if all the men who used and abused her are never brought to trial for what they did to her...I'm thinking we need a vigilante out there in Eight Mile Junction, starting the justice with JoBeth's stepfather who started raping her when she was 7... then her mother who refused to acknowledge it because she didn't want to lose her rich husband... all the way down to those busybodies in town who were supposedly friends to JoBeth...until they had juicy gossip to chew on and regurgitate.

So, if none of what bothered me, doesn't bother you...hey, go for's a nice little story about a girl two years through college, who finally breaks away to stand on her own two feet... Just for the record, I started working right out of high school and used my salary toward eating and keeping our family together... So if I sound a little cynical, it's my personal opinion showing😒. I was totally involved with JoBeth, the character, as many readers would be because of what she'd been accused of doing...We had a right to know exactly what happened to her in order to have this book satisfactorily concluded.


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