Every now and then, I like to take a break from my TBR and go check out what's new and hot in the mystery/thriller genre. Nothing floats my boat quiteEvery now and then, I like to take a break from my TBR and go check out what's new and hot in the mystery/thriller genre. Nothing floats my boat quite like some murder and twists - that's just the kind of sweet person I am. But unfortunately, this very exciting-sounding mystery that's been generating a lot of buzz didn't deliver.
It's somewhat compelling, I'll give it that. Creepy masks, hidden memories, and a series of really bizarre deaths that all lead back to controversial psychologist - Frankie Stein (you read that right). I made a lot of excuses for it in my head - well, it's just a cozy thriller, what did you expect? does it really matter if they follow police procedure? sure, she makes some dumb decisions, but don't we all? - but in the end, I just couldn't ignore the mountain of issues.
The third person novel is split between the perspectives of homicide detective Frost Easton and psychiatrist Frankie Stein. Stein manipulates memory to allow her patients to forget bad experiences that have left them with crippling phobias, but now those patients are dying one by one in a series of bizarre incidents where they have a sudden psychotic breakdown. The blurb already tells us that Stein has missing memories of her own - a poor choice, I think, seeing as it gives up most of an important reveal.
Also, I really don't think I'm a very astute reader of mysteries. Even if I guess whodunnit, I am almost always clueless as to why. But here, it seems glaringly obvious. I mean, it's so obvious that for a time I thought it must be a red herring. And not only did I know the culprit, but it was easy to guess the whole reasoning behind it too.
Additionally, the women in this book left something to be desired. Well, really, all the characters were poorly-developed stereotypes, but the women suffered most from it. No matter whose perspective we were on, they were described by their curves and tight clothing. Every woman is sexualized, even the pictures of a dead murder/rape victim.
And why is everyone so stupid? Stein believes she knows who the murderer is - a man she already knows to be a murderer and rapist - but instead of going to the police and giving them this information, she decides to track this man down. On her own. At night. And another character, Lucy, is warned that a murderer is targeting Stein's patients and she's like "oh that sucks, but I'm going to try it too."
“It’s too dangerous, Lucy. At least right now.” “I understand what you’re saying, but you know what? I’m sick of being afraid. I’m sick of what happens to me when I try to cross a bridge. Dr. Stein helped Brynn. She really did. So I’d like to find out whether she thinks she can help me, too.”
...Stein helped Brynn? Brynn is DEAD!
Then there were all the procedural issues that were really jarring. I kept ignoring them, but after a while I just couldn't anymore. For most of the book, it seems as if Frost Easton turns up at crime scenes alone without any other cops or forensics teams. I assume they must be there somewhere, but they're not mentioned. And Easton keeps breaking into private property without a warrant - this guy would have lost his job five times over during the space of this book. Not to mention he goes on lunch dates with his main witness AND lets Stein tag along on a murder case. I'm sorry, but WHAT? What detective lets a civilian demand that they go with them on a case? Especially when the person he's trying to track down has directly threatened her.
Maybe I don't understand the workings of crimes very well - I could definitely believe that - but I also find it very hard to believe that the police would make the choices they do here. Would they really release info on nationwide news that would enable anyone to trigger Stein's patients? I really don't think so.
The Night Bird was just so... implausible. I get that it's fiction, but we're supposed to be convinced by it, and there was no convincing for me here. I found myself being constantly pulled out of the story by ill-conceived plot choices.