Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Review

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing
by P.D. Viner

Disclaimer:  I received a free advanced copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

Sad as it is, the world loves a good mystery involving a young, beautiful, seemingly innocent woman who is brutally raped and murdered.  Shows like Twin Peaks and Pretty Little Liars are evidence enough, although I'm sure there are other shows, movies and books that I don't know of or have forgotten.  Is it just the juxtaposition of feminine innocence and drug/lust-filled corruption that we find entertaining?  Or is it supposed to be a lesson to young women everywhere that THIS can happen to them if they fall from grace?

Sorry, I'll just get off my soapbox for a moment.  This book had a similar storyline.  It starts decades after Dani's murder, and we get to see the effects of grief on her parent's marriage and sanity.  Dani being their only child, Jim and Patty are unable to move on.  Patty because she is driven by an obsession to find Dani's killer, and Jim because he has now lost both his daughter and his wife.  Jim even interacts with hallucinations of Dani in his solitude.

There is also Tom, Dani's best friend who always wanted to be more.  He's joined the police and moved swiftly through the ranks, trying to solve crimes similar to Dani's rape and murder. 

The narration switches between all three characters' memories of Dani's childhood, disappearance and murder, and current events.  Tom has the bittersweet job of informing both Dani's parents that advances in DNA technology have caused cold-cases, like Dani's, to be re-opened.  Obviously chances are still very slim, due to the lack of knowledge when it came to taking samples when Dani died.  But, that doesn't stop Patty from throwing away the rest of her life in a search for the truth. 

As the search goes on, Tom and Jim reveal more and more about what they know of Dani's life at the time of her disappearance.  Unfortunately, what they think they know and the real truth aren't always the same.

I had a hard time putting this book down.  Not because I cared so much for Dani, or wanted vengeance for her; but because I really did start to care about her parents.  I found their emotions and actions (even though Patty's were often unwise) realistic considering the tragedy they had gone through.  I really wanted to like Tom as well, but he was a little too pathetic. 

Read more reviews about this book on LibraryThing.

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