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Ms. Henry expertly guides us through clever twists and turns as Claire's lingering adolescent insecurities give way to an emerging self-confidence and savvy which just may keep her alive.
Anyone who has ever pondered attending a school reunion will enjoy this classy mystery lightly seasoned with '70's nostalgia and Ms. Henry's trademark humor.
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The main character, Free Meeker, is very likable, though I felt Henry went a little overboard in describing her parents: by the middle of the book I found myself thinking "okay, okay, they're free-spirit-go-nowhere-hippies, we GET it!" But it's effective in making Free even more sympathetic than just the opening car accident would have done. And I thought Don, the villian, was somewhat unbelievable, esp. towards the end. I just couldn't see a man in his business being anything less than completely jaded -- even given Free's "special circumstances". I found it hard to see him as the ultimate hero he became.
Overall though, this is a well-written. page-turner. Definitely a good summer read.
If you've read my other reviews, you know I'm a fan of Henry's cozies. But gentle reader, this is no cozy. It's a slowly tightening knot of suspense that would have had Alfred Hitchcock bidding for the film rights. Free makes one seemingly-innocuous choice after another as the reader sees the psychopathic ex-husband (whose wife's name Free has stolen) and the regretfully homicidal drug lord (whose profits Free has stolen) circle in closer and closer--it's like the scene in Jaws, where you're shouting at the swimmer, "Get out of the water. GET OUT OF THE WATER!" Of course, the swimmer never does. Neither does Free, which is why I had to stagger around the next day on only three and a half hours of sleep.
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This book is a quick read with an interesting mystery and, centering as it does around the authenticity of an unknown Vermeer painting, Henry relates a lot of interesting art history while keeping the entertainment level high. Details about Portland and New York are enjoyable (though how could she not bring up Powell's Books?), and the characters are three-dimensional.
Well done. I will read other books by this author.
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