Saturday, January 11, 2020

Jana DeLeon - Dreadful

Six years ago, five friends went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Four of them returned. One simply disappeared. Jenny Taylor has never gotten over the disappearance of her twin sister, Caitlyn, but now things are even worse. Caitlyn calls to Jenny in her dreams, begging her sister to find her. But Jenny’s memory of the entire night is completely gone.
Shaye Archer knows better than anyone what it’s like to have gaping holes in your past, and how horrific dreams can cripple you. But this case presents problems on every level. An adult woman disappearing from the French Quarter during Mardi Gras is hard enough to get answers for, but when it happened years before, the difficulty level increases exponentially. But Shaye’s empathy for Jenny prevents her from saying no, even though she doesn’t expect to find anything.
Then a witness is murdered, and Jenny’s memory starts to return. What did she see in the alley that night? And how many more are in danger because of it? 

Comment: This is the 6th installment in the Shaye Archer series by author Jana DeLeon, which I only started because the first book was in one of my book club reads in the past. Since then, the series captivated me enough to keep going and now I think of it as one of those friends you meet from time to time to catch up, the experience is always pleasant if not mind blowing.

In this new story Shaye is is still doing her investigations work and when the story begins she is a little bored with the less appealing side of business which is invoices, writing down paperwork stuff among other things and she knows she should prefer the to the grittier side of working on complex cases but she has overcome a lot and prefers some action.
Things change when three people show up in her office and Shaye can see one of them doesn't seem to be well, it's a woman called Jenny who wants to re-open the case of her missing twin sister six years ago. At first the clues seem too old for Shaye to discover anything the police might have overlooked but then someone is killed and the situation escalates.
Will Shaye discover the truth behind Jenny's sister disappearance and why would someone not want that truth to be known?

This was an easy story to read. The cover would indicate something scarier might happen in the plot but despite the fact the situations can be seen as more frightening or less depending on the reader's sensibilities and also some things are quite difficult to imagine, the reality is that I think the author has such a fluid, direct manner of presenting the information that people can go through the story with the necessary facts and things don't get very dire.

This is my impression after reading the books until this one. Some descriptions and information about the characters' actions or what happened to Shaye (who has had a lot to suffer through in the past) could be seen as too much but the writing style doesn't allow people to be too affects, I'd say.... in fact, there's a slight detachment from everything but not in a bad way: readers can think and measure how affected they should feel but for me this doesn't detract from the novel.

In this book we had more of these notions, Shaye is a great investigator, she always seems to be able to talk to people in the right way... I kept thinking while reading, were I to be an investigator and having to ask questions I'd feel like I was bothering people,  don't think I'd be willing to go out there and besides, it's funny she is not a police officer but everyone always answers her questions anyway. This helps the plot of course but it's probably the little detail that I find more difficult to believe.
As for the investigation itself, as one can imagine, stirs up many secret things and I must say some were well thought indeed.

The execution of some of those ideas though, that could have been planned better. I won't go into spoilers but the six years of the missing twin disappearance felt a little too much to accept considering the path the author chose. Perhaps half that time or less would feel more realistic to me.
There are some psychological explanations about what the characters do/go through but I an rationally accept that, the how it happened, however, doesn't seem as likely. It's quite a jump, though, from the simplicity we can imagine to the way things are but...a great imagination and not a correspondent execution can be seen as a little unstable.

As for Shaye's personal life, which is another element that we see throughout the novel in little scenes and so on, I must say I was a little disappointed too. It's good she is a stable place in her life, that she has mostly accepted her journey and she is a good person, she has her cop boyfriend, her mother and friends, but I expected we would see more of her development, more romance too... there's something she does in this book that is not a surprise but it's such a small moment in the whole book, I think it might as well not have been there at all, it felt it lacked importance while it certainly was.

All in all, a good installment, exactly what I would expect in emotional terms, but some things could have been done better, in my opinion.
Grade: 7/10

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