Crime & Beyond Wiki

If you read nothing else from this email, read this: our next meeting is ONE WEEK EARLY because of Memorial Day. We are meeting on MAY 20 to discuss I Will Find You by Harlan Coben. Luckily it’s only in the low 300s for page count, so should be a quick read.

In April we read and discussed Exiles by Jane Harper, the third in the Aaron Falk series. We were all huge fans of The Dry, the book that introduced Falk, so it was really interesting to see what everyone thought. Let’s just say that this book did not get the rave reviews that we gave to The Dry. It appears that this is the last book in the series and we’ve pointed out many times that the author making Falk a financial investigator really limits the cases he can be involved in, so the storylines need to allow for his appearance. Book 2 in the series (the title escapes me; Force of Nature -ed.) only had him in a peripheral role and I remember us thinking his involvement was a bit of a stretch.

First the scores: the book got six 9s, four 8s, five 7s, six 6s, and five 5s (this includes Susan, Christina, and Sharon K’s votes that were phoned in). Not horribly bad on the surface, and given the discussion, I was a bit surprised when I just tallied the numbers. Partially because as we discussed the book, I heard a lot more negatives than I did positives. So let’s go into what those were.

The number one complaint was, drumroll please, we needed a map!!! Aaron stopped off at the ravine, he went to the festival, he left via the East Entrance, he could walk to his friend’s house because it was so close. All of these things were described, but a good old fashioned map of the area would really have helped us all follow the action. Especially when he was walking all over and trying to figure out where the victim had been, if she exited the East Entrance, etc. Someone even suggested that they include the marijuana on the map. It could be multi-purpose.

The next big thing for many was that there were too many characters to keep track of and it made it hard to follow. I think we just need to bring back the tradition from Agatha Christie times where there was not only a map of, for example, St. Mary Mead in the front of the book, but a cast of characters that included everyone down to the maid and butler. I know when I read those books, I frequently turn back to check who’s who and where’s where.

A lot of people were bored during the first half of the book as the author attempted to set up the plot. It felt like the second half was much faster. I loved the saying that I heard (I think it was Melissa O who mentioned it): The first half was twice as long as the second half. For a lot of people, it felt that way.

The flashbacks were also a problem for some. It was hard to know when we were flashing back and when we were in present day. We “read” the book in different ways (Kindle, audio, physical book) so how flashbacks are treated can vary depending on the medium being used.

Many didn’t like the domestic abuse angle with Kim and Rohan. Others didn’t like the romance that was brewing with Aaron - and we didn’t really buy that he would quit his job, move there, and start working at a winery. It appeared that the author was giving Falk closure, and a happy ending one at that.

As far as the narrative went, we actually had a suggestion for the author – she should have woven the part of the story from Kim’s perspective into the book in the beginning and middle, instead of putting it all at the end. She could have kept back enough of the spoilers and used them at the end so that she didn’t give it all away.

With all of that said, many of us like the twists, specifically the fact that Kim was never even at the festival. She was dead already and her husband faked the whole rest of the night. I personally loved the whole part about the wave. To set up the illusion that Kim was on the Ferris Wheel with the baby, he looked up, found a woman with a child, and waved. They waved back, as you do, and everyone saw the transaction and thought it must have been Kim. Why, because he told them it was. BTW, I tried this out tonight. I am writing this email on a plane and after Ray and I went through the new West security at DIA, you take an escalator down to the train. There is a glass wall and an airport employee stands there and watches everyone descend. I waved to him and he waved back. It does work!

Not many of us saw the ending coming. We all followed the story that she was at the festival, which made it more enjoyable when we were surprised. Several people thought the book was clever and kept us guessing. Paige even thought Gemma killed Kim and was keeping the body in the RV.

I told you, way more bad than good – even though the scores weren’t horrible. Nothing lower than a 5 says a lot.

Lastly, a lesson for us all. Football is soccer, but Footy in Oz is similar to Rugby in the UK. Get it straight!

Exiles Snacks

Thank you to Cindy for leading the discussion and to Nicole for bring the snacks (and she even went with a theme).

We welcomed Jo Ellen to the group, but for the life of me, I can’t find her email address. If anyone has it, please let me know.

Again, I will see everyone on MAY 20 to discuss Harlan Coben. Emma will be bringing snacks.