Alexa
Alexa asked:

This book has a pretty different structure than the rest of the series, incorporating actual flashbacks rather than having the whole thing come from the lead detective's point of view. What did you think of the different perspective? Why do you think French changed things up for this book?

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Sarah Page I couldn’t identify with anyone here because she doesn’t stick to a main protagonist. In her past books in this series, the protagonist has generally been one detective in the Murder Squad and we learned a lot about that individual and their inner workings, how they viewed the case, made discoveries, etc. We spend way too much time with teenage girls and not enough time with the detectives. It plays with point of view in a distracting way. The story isn’t linear enough to be engaging, particularly because mystery/thriller novels need to grab you throughout - they should be “page turners,” and I didn’t feel that here. It seemed like she was almost going for something YA - it was very much like Reconstructing Amelia - blah.
L.B. I think she probably changed it up because she likes to do different things. There is always that danger of a writer getting bored when they do a series. I think I'm in the minority here, but I loved the flashbacks from the teenager's points of view. Since the heart of the book was why Chris was murdered, then it only seems fitting that the girls surrounding him and what led up to the murder would be what the story was all about and the most accessible. For me Detective Moran was sort of a shadow, not completely flushed out because we don't get a lot of info about what makes him tick. Probably because the book takes place in one whole day. The fact the book takes place in one day is both amazing (how brave of her!) and sort of the thing that bugged me. Still, I think she's one of the most wonderful writers out there and even my least favorite of her books is better than most of what's being published. :-)
Kim Taylor
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Dekayshe Sanders I couldn’t identify with anyone here because she doesn’t stick to a main protagonist. In her past books in this series, the protagonist has generally been one detective in the Murder Squad and we learned a lot about that individual and their inner workings, how they viewed the case, made discoveries, etc. We spend way too much time with teenage girls and not enough time with the detectives. It plays with point of view in a distracting way. The story isn’t linear enough to be engaging, particularly because mystery/thriller novels need to grab you throughout - they should be “page turners,” and I didn’t feel that here. It seemed like she was almost going for something YA - it was very much like Reconstructing Amelia - blah. I think she probably changed it up because she likes to do different things. There is always that danger of a writer getting bored when they do a series. I think I'm in the minority here, but I loved the flashbacks from the teenager's points of view. Since the heart of the book was why Chris was murdered, then it only seems fitting that the girls surrounding him and what led up to the murder would be what the story was all about and the most accessible. For me Detective Moran was sort of a shadow, not completely flushed out because we don't get a lot of info about what makes him tick. Probably because the book takes place in one whole day. The fact the book takes place in one day is both amazing (how brave of her!) and sort of the thing that bugged me. Still, I think she's one of the most wonderful writers out there and even my least favorite of her books is better than most of what's being published. :-Those from the third-person point of view was at times hard to follow. It almost seemed lie what she was going for was that ''Holly's Lot" was the "narrator" of that section. But what made the girls unique was made made the transitions between their point of view confusing. Yet, I accept it because at the end of the day it told me what I wanted to know.
Trish Do you think it could have to do with French's novelistic experimentation in view of the success of Kate Atkinson's LIFE AFTER LIFE?
Dan The flashbacks were necessary to understand the plot and the story. I would get confused by them though. Suddenly I would realize we were in the past, but when exactly? Especially toward the end the flashbacks should have been a bit more clearly marked.
Louise Annetta I had to make notes to keep the girls straight. The jumping back and forth made hard work for a 'fun' read. And nicknames, too. Yes I agree too much time with the girls and not with the detectives.
Mitch Nelson Detective Moran's portion, to me, was strong since it fits the structure of the previous stories.
Those from the third-person point of view was at times hard to follow. It almost seemed lie what she was going for was that ''Holly's Lot" was the "narrator" of that section. But what made the girls unique was made made the transitions between their point of view confusing. Yet, I accept it because at the end of the day it told me what I wanted to know.
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by Tana French (Goodreads Author)
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