Thursday, September 19, 2013

There isn't one happy person in this book but I'm devoted to all of them.

I've had a serious bout of self-doubt and have been unable to do much writing, (but plenty of eating), Because they can't see into my house, Random House/Penguin continues to request  reviews of their books. Tuesday's Gone is the latest from a husband/wife team of best-selling writers who publish under a combination of their names, Nicci French. Tuesday's Gone is part of a series and I'm glad to know I can follow the barely scrutable Ms. Klein through more noir adventures.)

I would not have a friend like Frieda Klein in real life. Frieda, the psychoanalyst/protagonist of Tuesday’s Gone, says little, is too smart, practices a profession that makes me wary.  Yet, in this twisted complex thriller, she is exactly the leader I want to take me through a labyrinth of horrors. Chief Inspector Karlsson thinks so, too, and asks for her help when a social worker finds a decomposing body in the apartment of one of her charges.  Frieda has a noisy conscience and is still smarting from recent unintended consequences but agrees to become an official member of the department.   She is not an ingĂ©nue or a wacky detective.  She is the real, serious deal.

Okay so we respect Frieda, what about the rest of this book?  Complicated, many twists, bizarreness, all the lives gone wrong.  What about the ambiance?  Bad  weather, chills, grey rooms, neat, lifeless rooms.  What about the state of mind of the characters?  Needy, lonely, vulnerable, done wrong, failed relationships, disgruntled, crazy (seriously crazy).  The plot is all over the place and interwoven with a troubling side issue that seems outside of everything.

You get the picture.  There isn’t one happy person or place in the book.  There’s one scene with a flower garden and it’s jarring. Frieda hints at a love affair gone wrong (might it go right?). That’s fine with me.  I don’t like happy.  What brings me back every moment to continue with this book is my devotion to the characters. Yes, devotion is the right word.  There is a handy man that I would like to know.  There is no bs here and I care about how the whole thing turns out.  I care about Frieda even though she’s tough to break open.  God, she’s tough to break open.