Monday, April 23, 2018

Review: Look for Her

Summary: Lilling might seem like an idyllic English village, but it’s home to a dark history. In 1976, a teenage girl named Annalise Wood disappeared, and though her body was later discovered, the culprit was never found. Decades later, Annalise maintains a perverse kind of celebrity, and is still the focus of grief, speculation, and for one young woman, a disturbing, escalating jealousy. 

When DNA linked to the Annalise murder unexpectedly surfaces, cold case detective Morris Keene and his former partner, Chloe Frohmann, hope to finally bring closure to this traumatized community. But the new evidence instead undoes the case's only certainty: the buried body that had long ago been confidently identified as Annalise may be someone else entirely, and instead of answers, the investigators face only new puzzles. 

Whose body was unearthed all those years ago, and what happened to the real Annalise? Is someone interfering with the investigation? And is there a link to a present-day drowning with eerie connections? With piercing insight and shocking twists, Emily Winslow explores the dark side of sensationalized crime in this haunting psychological thriller. -- William Morrow

I really enjoyed the premise of the novel LOOK FOR HER by Emily Winslow. LOOK FOR HER takes up 40 years after the mysterious disappearance and murder (and unsolved case) of a teenage girl. In  1976, Annalise Wood disappears and the small English village of Lilling has never been the same. Four decades later, she is still an enigma to the community and present in the minds of many... including one woman in particular who is almost jealous of her notoriety.

Morris Keene is back at work for the police force after a traumatic injury albeit in a different role, while his former partner Chloe Frohmann is out on maternity leave. Morris is now working cold cases when a huge break comes in -- there's new DNA on the Annalise crime. He and Chloe decide to work together to get to the bottom of this mystery; however, they quickly learn that the new evidence flies in the face of what everyone has ever thought about Annalise's murder.

Meanwhile, Cambridge University therapist Laurie Ambrose has a strange link to Annalise. She has two new patients who both claim ties to the dead girl, and they seem to know an awful lot about her life as well. When one of them ends up dead, she finds herself right smack dab in the center of the mystery!

Can Keene and Frohmann find Annalise's murderer after all of this time? Is he or she even alive? And how do these two mysterious woman play a role in the investigation?

I liked LOOK FOR HER but I'm not sure I loved it. I've been in a bit of a reading funk lately and that might be why I had a hard time getting into this novel. Once I committed to the book, though, I did enjoy it and even appreciate the characters and the various plot twists. It's a smart mystery and very well written!

LOOK FOR HER has quite a few strengths as far as psychological suspense books go. The story is told in a unique way which makes it even more compelling. The chapters alternate between the two detectives, Keene and Frohmann, as well as the therapist. It also includes transcripts of the therapy sessions and even undiscovered emails. I found that this technique worked well for me because I saw the story from a variety of interesting (and insightful) angles.

In addition, I liked the complexity of the characters. Morris Keene had obviously suffered a trauma both physically and emotionally that made him intriguing, while Chloe Frohmann was dealing with the adjustment of being a new mom... and balancing her job as a detective. I enjoyed both of these characters, and I suspect we'll be seeing them in future novels. In addition, I found Laurie Ambrose to be a strong character. She had insights into the two women who claimed ties to Annalise, while also having to deal with her own struggles from the loss of her husband. I appreciated that these three characters had their own stories outside of the Annalise murder investigation.

Finally, I enjoyed the twists and turns in the story. I honestly wasn't sure where the story was going. And truth be told, with the plot twist at the end (that kind of came out of the blue), I wasn't going to figure things out. While I thought the story was a little slow at the beginning, it eventually became a page turner!

LOOK FOR HER would make an interesting book club selection. There is a reading guide with nine thought-provoking questions. Some of the themes you might want to explore include grief, loss, healing, assumptions, jealousy, obsession, privacy, love, parent/child relationships and more.

LOOK FOR HER is a well written mystery novel with some great characters. Recommended for fans of mysteries and psychological suspense stories.

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.

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I think I'd like the unique way the story is told. This sounds good!