I hate attempting to write reviews about books I felt “meh” about. Although I read a little bit of everything, the mystery/thriller genre is definitely the one I gravitate toward most frequently. That being said, I’m extremely hard to please. A 3-Star rating is gooooooood for me. I also have high expectations from authors who I have previously read and enjoyed. Unfortunately for authors like McCreight (as well as others like Samantha Hayes and Chevy Stevens) I have a habit of stumbling across either their best (or at least most noted) books first and everything else pales in comparison. Such was the case with Where They Found Her after reading Reconstructing Amelia.
Let’s start with the positive – Kimberly McCreight writes readable stories. The premise of Where They Found Her was one of those “ripped from the headlines” types. A baby’s dead body has been discovered near the university and a local reporter has been assigned to follow the case. The story also follows the life of a high-school dropout whose mother has gone missing and that of a “helicopter” mother whose young son has started demonstrating some not-so-perfect behaviors.
Here’s where things get a little shaky for me. I don’t dig extra drama added to a plot that I feel is done only for drama’s sake. I’m sure many will disagree with me here (and that’s perfectly okay – just please don’t troll my review to tell me I’m an idiot), but I thought having the reporter recently having a stillbirth of her own just gummed up the works. I’m heartless, I know. Same goes for the actual mystery. I want a "James Woods" type of experience that leads me on a twisty trail . . . .
I’m not going to spoil anything, but the old saying “thou doth protest too much” really comes into play in a lot of thrillers and leaves me with some serious disappointment when I know the whodunit immediately.
I’m also not a fan of authors using the same approach to multiple books. Reconstructing Amelia had a “mixed media” vibe with e-mails, texts, IMs, journal entries, etc. telling the story – and it worked well. Using newspaper clippings, therapy records, etc. in this book turned the writing style into more of a crutch or gimmick.
Bottom line? Where They Found Her makes for a great poolside read for those of you who, like me, prefer the dark side of summer fluff rather than the ol' slap-n-tickle.