Plot or Premise
Three women carry a dark secret from their homecoming dance, and an eccentric billionaire’s death may force the secret into the light.
What I Liked/Didn’t Like
The premise of the story is that an unidentified baby was found buried in a park 18 years before, and a billionaire’s widow offers a $1M lottery if people will donate their DNA to solve the case. The three girls are affected by the premise, and you know something happened with a baby that ties them somehow to the case; you’re not sure what, but they’re “involved”.
I struggled to finish the book…normally, if I’m reading a book that isn’t singing to me, I stop, and I don’t review it. Equally, if it is a debut author and I’m likely to rate it less than 3 stars, I also don’t review it. But I liked the premise of the DNA lottery. It was new, it was diffferent, how would it affect the ending? So I kept with it.
The writing was okay, but I was increasingly unsatisfied. There are multiple scenes with intentionally vague language to hide the “solution”, but it only works because the story has a slight PoV shift before each one. It’s not quite as egregious as someone thinking of a killer and using the personal pronoun “they” instead of “he or she” or “Jack or Jane”, not because it fits their actual pronoun or how they think of that person, it’s just “they” so the reader doesn’t figure out the mystery too early.
Plus, there were a couple of weird coincidences and a completely wonky character shift in a tertiary character at the end. And one deliberate misdirect to make you think one of the characters might have been raped, but wasn’t, and yet the possible rape was one of the few things explaining her weird behaviour as a high-schooler prior to the secret event. Plus, all three women are each acting “off” during the day of the secret event, to make you think they’re possibly pregnant, yet it has nothing to do with the outcome and is never explained.
By this time, I was 3/4 of the way through, so I had to finish. And yet I expected to be ticked at the ending — I thought it would either be something trite and superficially handled OR it would be a giant twist that made no sense. But then something wonderful happened.
The author tied up the story with a neat twist. Sure, part of it relied on a giant coincidence that I wish had been handled better, but the explanation explained stuff way better and didn’t end like any of the two obvious solutions. And the epilogues were pretty good. A bit short, but interesting. I had to bump it up to 3 stars. I confess that not all of the stories are tied up equally well. Some behaviour is explained, other bits are left dangling and seemingly the antithesis of the rest of the character’s behaviour, but whatever. It was worth finishing.
I received a free copy of this book from Amazon, however, I am not personal friends with the author, nor have I interacted with them on social media.
The Bottom Line
Good solution, average book