Monday, February 2, 2015
The Cold, Cold Sea by Linda Huber
The Cold, Cold Sea starts with a little girl being caught by waves. Then it switches to Maggie, who's daughter Olivia has gone missing at the beach. We see the beginning of the aftermath, and then we cut to Jennifer and her daughter Hailey. I had thought the book was going to toggle between Maggie and Jennifer's chapters, but most of the book is actually between Jennifer and Katie, Hailey's new teacher.
Well, Jennifer is certainly not normal. I actually guessed what was going on from the start, because there is no way that she's a normal mom. I was actually prepared to read a story of Maggie vs Jennifer, but after a strong first impression, Maggie sort of faded away, and we missed most of the aftermath. For example, Maggie's husband was really mad at her at first, but the next time we see her, he's gotten over the anger. That's a huge, huge gap.
Instead, most of the story is about Katie trying to convince herself that everything is normal, but unable to do so. The thing that kept me reading would be the thought "when is everyone going to realise what's going on?" In fact, now that I think about it, no one character actually actively interferes. The story just sorta happens, until an act of random coincidence brings it to a close.
This book excels in its portrayal of an ever-increasingly unstable personality. Jennifer is one of those villains that'll make you push the book on people and go "isn't she terrible? Read the book and tell me how terrible she is!" Her characterisation was actually fantastic, and the main reason why the work captivated me.
I guess this book is really about how people can, for whatever reasons they have, just stand passively by as a crime is being committed. Katie isn't this apathetic character - she does care about Hailey. But she doesn't really want to poke her head in, and she accepts the easy/convenient explanation straight away. How many of us do that too?
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review.