Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Mortal Friends - A Novel
It's summertime and the perfect time for a juicy read.
And thanks to Harper Collins Publishers, I had the opportunity to dive right into one.
Mortal Friends: A Novel, by Jane Stanton Hitchcock
Bitchy society women, men in power with their brains in their pants ... politics, serial killer on the loose, a few plot twists that weren't completely predictable plus the fact that the protagonist/narrator is a woman my age ... what more could one want? Well, humour, and there was a bit of that too.
Reven Lynch, our storyteller, is an antique shop owner/decorator, who shows us the workings of the inner circle of the chi-chi Georgetown neighbourhood of Washington. Although she is not a top-tier socialite, her best friend, Violet Bolton, wife of the president of the bank, happens to be. So there are a lot of parties, and we get a glimpse into what dinner conversation might be like at these gatherings. ( It is in these scenes that the author really shines, as she has quite a knack for describing how awkward these moments could be in real life, and also injects the conversations and the situations with some pretty funny lines.)
To keep things even more interesting, there happens to be a serial killer who they call the Beltway Basher, who is committing vicious murders in the neighbourhood park where the ladies frequent for their walks and jogs. Violet also has a most interesting hobby, a fascination with all things murder. Yes, she is quite different.
There are other main characters that round out the story. There's the new woman in town, a character you just love to hate, who is throwing her millions around. Then the philosophical detective who keeps just showing up at Reven's shop. He convinces Reven to become an ally to help him solve the mystery of the serial killer. And finally just to keep things interesting, Reven gets involved with a bad boy in the scene, who is potentially a suspect in the murders. Dating for a single woman in her 40's? I thought this was a refreshing and welcome storyline written very neatly into the whole plot.
I'll be quite honest that it took me a little while to get into the book. However, once I got past the ninth chapter (and it helped that the chapters were short, making it possible for this mom/chauffeur to slip them in between pit stops), I couldn't really put it down.
There were a plethora of characters that weren't central to the plot that I could have lived without; that being said, they didn't interfere overall. I just knew where I could skim without losing critical information.
So my rating on this book? Well it kept my interest, it moved at a quick enough pace, and I finished it in a matter of days. I was entertained.
A solid thumbs up, 3.5 out of 5 stars.