Book: Innocent Monsters
Author: Barbara Doherty
Jessica Lynch is a successful author, her first novel receives great acclaim as she tells the true story of an abusive parent and the psychological impact that ensues. Her sister is her only real friend in life and when she is found dead, having presumably taken her own life, Jessica struggles to cope. Unable to write any more, she rebuffs everyone around her as they cannot truly feel her pain. Finally, she meets a fellow spirit, a sufferer himself yet also holding down a very successful career, and it appears as though her life is getting back on track. The investigation into her sister’s death leads the police to believe she was murdered. Everyone in her immediate circle – her editor, her new boyfriend, even her sister’s best friend – suddenly seem to be hiding a secret, her ability to trust is once more in jeopardy as she juggles her desire to move on with her need for justice.
This story is very gritty at times, the author depicts a graphic, yet daunting tale of abuse from the alcoholic father, sexual abuser and violent husband. There are some very tough issues to handle here – such as child abuse, domestic violence, self-harming – yet the harsh brutality of the world she depicts is often counter-balanced by some quite lyrical descriptions and breath-taking imagery. All emotions are laid bare as the characters try to live ordinary lives, tarnished physically and mentally by their pasts.
The honesty and insight of this story sometimes makes for uncomfortable reading, but the integral plot, the mysterious murder holds it all together beautifully. The pace is very good, the descriptions are vivid and memorable, the characters are believable – even if the detective does remind me of Columbo!
They are occasional typos and grammar issues, but these are not hugely detrimental to the story as a whole.
This was a real page-turner, I didn’t want to put it down. The tension towards the end was palpable and although I felt I knew who the murderer was, there were too many other possibilities to be certain. I loved the way Jessica got her revenge through her books, her success as a result was inspired.