Sunday, April 3, 2011

loses focus

The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
Genre: fiction
Challenge: 100 Book Challenge 2011
Review: It gives away nothing about this book to say that it's about two sisters whose father kills their mother. One of the sisters is also stabbed, but survives, and the other sister runs for help and returns to a very bloody scene. The remainder of the book is the next 30+ years of the sisters' lives, showing us snapshots of how this traumatic event and its aftermath effect the rest of their lives.

This is an excellent premise for a book (one that is loosely based in the author's own life, as it turns out). The father's impending release (either earlier on parole or later when is sentence is up) is supposed to create a lot of tension for the sisters, but very few changes are evident in their lives or relationships as this date grows closer. An improbable and weakly fleshed out encounter shortly before the father's release causes some temporary changes in their thinking, but things soon go back to "normal" and the reader is forced to wonder what the point of it all was.

This book got off to a strong and vivid start, as we live through the sisters' trauma, but as they grow into adults it becomes disorganized. Meyers could have either kept a tight focus on the immediately aftermath of the event (that part of the book was quite good) or given the reader more to chew on as the sisters grew up. She did neither, but instead takes the reader on a ramble through 30 years of the sisters not dealing with what happens. But then it seems she suddenly realizes that the story needs some closure, so Meyers gives them a breakthrough for an ending that neither she nor her characters have earned.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.

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