In 2014 and early 2015, every thriller was marketed as being the next Gone Girl. Suddenly that changed. Now every psychological thriller is purported to be the next The Girl on the Train. I guess that’s how an author knows he or she has made it – you become the gauge by which all similar genre are measured.
But having liked both Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, I was interested in The Gates of Evangeline by first-time novelist Hester Young, and purported to be the next The Girl on the Train. For one thing, in addition to being marketed to fans of The Girl on the Train, it is also called a southern gothic mystery, and that label will grab me every single time.
As it turned out, while not nearly as compelling as The Girl on the Train, I found The Gates of Evangeline to be a worthwhile read for lovers of mysteries.
Charlotte (Charlie) Cates, an ambitious divorced career woman who lives in New York City, is stopped dead in her tracks when her 5-year-old son suddenly dies of a brain aneurism. Now she struggles just to get up every morning. The novel opens with her trying to get her life back together.
An old friend who is the editor of Cold Crimes Magazine comes to her rescue by asking her to investigate and write a subsequent article about a 30-year-old cold case at an old plantation in Louisiana called Evangeline. A child has been missing for three decades and is presumed dead. A body, however, has never been found and no one was every charged. Faced with a bleak future spent mourning the death of her son, Charlie is tempted by this offer.
About this same time, Charlie suddenly begins having dreams that accurately predict terrible things happening to children. This, coupled with her ongoing depression, lead her to accept the challenge and move to Louisiana to live on the estate with the family of the missing child.
What she finds are a lot of family secrets, mysterious and mixed reactions to her presence, and a spark of romance.
Though somewhat predictable (I was able to come up with the ending long before the book was over), I nevertheless enjoyed the story very much. Young developed interesting characters and I enjoyed her storytelling.
I look forward to her next effort.
Here is a link to the book.