As I shared in a previous Books I Read, I’ve really been enjoying mysteries with a dark twist to them lately, and so it was with that in mind that I picked up two recent releases that met that criteria, Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon* and The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne* both of which are stories told from a parent’s perspective about children they may not know as well as they think.
* * *
Although Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon begins with a school shooting, ultimately this is a book about parenting. While his wife works at a successful law firm, Simon Connolly has stayed home with their kids, Jake and Laney. After the shooting, Jake doesn’t emerge from the school, and soon it is revealed that the police believe he was may have been involved in the violence. The story switches between the present tense as Simon works to undercover where Jake has gone, and the past, as he remembers moments of Jake’s life and searches for hints about what may have happened.
This is an incredibly emotional and intense story, and although it is about more than the mystery, that definitely kept my attention as well. It felt realistic and heartbreaking how quickly everyone jumps to conclusions, especially in times of tragedy. Although the events of Finding Jake surround a shooting, using Simon as the lens of the story makes it both suspenseful and introspective as I both wanted Simon to find his son, and was terrified of what would happen if he did.
Although I didn’t really connect with Simon’s wife, and there was an unnecessary last chapter, ultimately I taken in by the revealing and heart-wrenching story of Finding Jake.
* * *
I’m instantly interested in stories that have to do with twins, so that was what first caught my attention about The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne. In it, one of Sarah’s life was basically perfect until one of her identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in a tragic accident. A year later, the other daughter Kirstie starts claiming that she is Lydia after all. I actually didn’t realize that the daughters in this novel were so young until I started reading, but Kirstie is only 7 years old, which adds an extra creepiness to the story.
However, I had some fundamental problems with The Ice Twins, starting with the fact that apparently not even their parents can tell Lydia and Kirstie apart. I also hate books where the biggest issues could be solved by the two main characters (in this case, Sarah and her husband Angus) having a proper conversation. JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER. That said, Tremayne definitely does a good job creating tension in the story, and there were some creepy moments. I did really like the northern Scotland setting, which provides a lovely backdrop to the loneliness and isolation all the characters feel.
The Ice Twins starts off really well, but as it develops I felt myself rooting for the dog more than Sarah or Angus, who ended up getting on my nerves. Ultimately, I was really won over by the concept of Tremayne’s novel, but the actual execution was only okay.
* * *
I’ve got to say, both Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon and The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne make me glad I’m not a parent at the moment! There are even more mystery reviews to come because I am hooked.