It seems like every day I come across a new mystery/suspense/thriller novel that purports to be “the next Gone Girl.” Clearly, Gone Girl is the book that authors want to write (and readers want to read). Having found Gone Girl to be one of the most satisfying thrillers (in an oddly unsatisfying way) I have ever read, I must admit that I, too, am looking for the next Gone Girl.
I’m not going to go so far as to say that Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little is on equal footing with Gillian Flynn’s amazing novel-with-the-twisted-ending, but man, the book did hold my attention, and the only thing that prevented me from throwing the book against the wall (as I did when I finished Gone Girl) was the fact that I was reading on my iPad. It wouldn’t survive the toss.
Jane Jenkins is a Kim Kardashian-type Hollywood celebrity, famous only for being the daughter of a well-known actress. Well, famous for only that up until the time that she is tried and convicted of murdering her mother, a crime she’s pretty sure she didn’t commit. I say pretty sure because there were a lot of drugs and alcohol in her life. Ten years after being imprisoned, she is released on a technicality, and sets out to find out who did, in fact, kill her mother (if it wasn’t her).
Through a bit of sleuthing (and some unbelievable coincidences), she is able to find out where her mother grew up and learns things she wouldn’t have dreamed about her mother’s life as a young woman. In the meantime, she is trying to hide from the paparazzi who are endlessly trying to find out where she went following her release. The public, you see, still think she’s guilty.
Little’s writing is sharp, perhaps a bit too sharp. Jane goes through life mouthing nothing but quips. Much of the writing is clever, but it went a bit too far. I think Little’s character development was good, and I got a great feel for who Jane is and the frustrations she felt both currently and while growing up the child of a celebrity who is famous ONLY for being the child of a celebrity.
There are a few too many coincidences to lead me to unequivocally recommend the book. Still, the story was compelling and I couldn’t stop reading, wanting to find out who actually murdered her mother. And the ending – boy oh boy. That’s all I’ll say.
Despite its flaws, I highly recommend the book (gosh, I can’t believe I’m saying this) for anyone who liked the book Gone Girl.