Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: Keep Her Safe

Summary: She's the most famous murder victim in America. What if she's not dead?

Pushed to the breaking point, Cara Burrows flees her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can't afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied — by a man and a teenage girl.

A simple mistake at the front desk... but soon Cara realizes that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can't possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving natural life sentences for her murder.

Cara doesn't know what to trust — everything she's read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life? -- William Morrow

I recently won a prize pack of books from William Morrow! One of the surprises in the box was the new novel KEEP HER SAFE by Sophie Hannah. I am a big fan of Sophie Hannah's Agatha Christie novels (books actually authorized by the Agatha Christie estate), and I was looking forward to reading her latest book. I admit I'm still scratching my head a bit with this one, though.

KEEP HER SAFE is a mystery surrounding the disappearance/murder of Melody Chapa, a little girl whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder. Cara Burrows is an English woman who flees to a swanky resort in Arizona after a falling out with her husband and two kids. She really just needs a few days to gather her thoughts, but what happens at this spa resort is hardly the break she was hoping for.

When Cara arrives late at night, she is anxious to just get to her room and fall asleep. However, when she opens the door, she discovers that a man and a teenage girl are already staying in the room! She returns to the front desk and is quickly upgraded to a villa, and Cara is finally able to get some much-needed rest. When she wakes up the next day, she learns that she maybe (just maybe) saw Melody Chapa alive and well.

Things in this spa resort get stranger by the minute and Cara isn't quite sure what to make of anyone she meets -- from the hotel employees, to the police investigating the sighting of Melody, to the "friends" she makes. Cara decides to take matters into her own hands and begins her own investigation of sorts into the mystery surrounding Melody. What she learns is extremely confusing and downright shocking... and she finds her life at risk!

I mentioned earlier that I'm torn about KEEP HER SAFE. The book was definitely unlike any mystery I've ever read, and I do read a fair amount of mysteries if I do say so myself. So I give kudos to Ms. Hannah for the uniqueness of this book. However, some of it was just really strange to me. The characters were just that... characters (especially Cara's friend at the resort and the television star who shows up), and much of the story was told through transcripts of an old television series. The plot was very different, and I'll admit I wasn't quite sure what to make of the novel.

And then, I have to say things made much more sense as I continued to read the book. I got used to the was the information was presented, and I even started appreciating the quirkiness of the characters and found some humor in the story. There were times when I wasn't sure that Cara was a reliable narrator, and I enjoyed the questions I had about her as well as other characters that appeared in the story. What I will say is that I am glad I had patience with this novel because everything eventually paid off. I liked how things came together at the end... and everything suddenly added up.

All in all, I found KEEP HER SAFE to be a refreshing mystery, and I give credit to the author for mixing things up a bit. There is no doubt in my mind that Ms. Hannah is a fantastic storyteller who's willing to take some risks in her writing.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


The Book Sage said...

Not every mystery writer can be Harlan Coben! However, there is a local author here in the Bay Area that I read because she's going to be an RBC author. The book is Dark Associations by Marie Sutra. Very good (although it's rough subject matter).

bermudaonion said...

I’ve never read her work but I’ve met her and she’s hilarious. It sounds like I need to try one of her Christie mysteries.