29 September 2016

Review: GIRL IN THE DARK, Marion Pauw

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 897 KB
  • Print Length: 341 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062424793
  • Publisher: William Morrow (February 16, 2016)
  • Publication Date: February 16, 2016
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00Y889ZLK
  • translated from Dutch by Hester Velmans 
Synopsis (Amazon)

An award-winning, internationally bestselling author makes her American debut with this taut, riveting domestic drama .... about a long-lost brother convicted of a horrifying crime and a sister’s fight to clear his name.

A single mother and lawyer, Iris has a colorful caseload, a young son with behavior issues, and a judgmental mother.

She also has a brother—shocking news she uncovers by accident. Why did her mother lie to her for her entire life? Why did she hide the existence of Ray Boelens from her?

Curious about this sibling she has never known, Iris begins to search for long-buried truths. What she discovers surprises—and horrifies—her. Her older brother is autistic—and in prison for brutally murdering his neighbor and her daughter.

Visiting Ray, she meets a man who looks heartbreakingly like her own son. A man who is devoted to his tropical fish and who loves baking bread. A man whose naiveté unnerves her. There is no question that Ray is odd and obsessive, unable to communicate like the rest of us. But is he really a killer?

Told in the alternative voices of Ray and Iris, Girl in the Dark is a compulsive, page-turning thriller about lies, murder, and the tenacity of a family determined to stay together even as they are pulled apart at the most vulnerable seams
My Take

Although it is tightly and carefully plotted there are rather too many coincidences in this novel for me. The final naming of Ray Boelens' father is really just the last in a long list of them.

The plight of an autistic lad whose mother cannot cope with his behaviour, and who is wide open to suggestions made by others, is well done, as is the security that his sea water fish tank offers him.

However the circumstances of the murders for which Ray was convicted and then institutionalised were not well investigated, especially the readiness to accept his own word for his involvement. The novel does highlight the vulnerability of people like Ray.

My rating: 4.3

About the author
Marion Pauw is a thriller writer living in Amsterdam. In the Netherlands, Girl in the Dark won the Golden Noose Award—the annual award for the best Dutch crime novel—under the title Daglicht (Daylight), and has sold more than 200,000 copies in Europe. It was also made into an acclaimed Dutch film. Girl in the Dark is Pauw’s American debut.

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