I completed the novel a few days ago with a bit of sadness, that it was done. I really enjoyed reading it and now have to get the rest of Clive Barker’s work. The third part of the novel began with a bit less action than the rest, with Shadwell and Hobart looking for the Scourge. Things quickly heated up ( literally!) when they headed back to England to search for the Kind. The tension racks up a bit here and then stays at a high pitch for the rest of the time. The ending was well done and not predictable at all. Clever, imaginative writing, fast paced and well structured. Highly recommended.
Tim O’ Brien’s absorption with Vietnam continues in this murder mystery. John Wade has just lost the election that he has been working towards by a landslide. He and his wife Kathy decide that in order to retreat and lick their wounds as well as to patch up their troubled marriage, they need to take off to the Lake of the Woods. We are introduced to the characters in this setting and then told that Kathy would soon disappear. This is where things start to get interesting in this novel.
The structure of the novel allows the reader to build up a gradual profile of John and his past as well as his relationship with Kathy. We see an increasingly disturbed individual who has suffered trauma, both in the loss of his father and then in Vietnam. He uses tricks, sleight of hand and mirrors to escape the unpleasant facts of his existence. the novelist also uses these same tricks, sleights of hand and mirrors to draw the readers into a kind of whodunnit, which is really a whodunnwhat, as we never really find out what happened to Kathy.
The suspense is carefully managed and we are pulled through the narrative by the chapters entitled ‘hypothesis’ and ‘evidence’ which are interspersed with the history of John’s life.
It is a fascinating read, but as it offers no easy answers some may find it frustrating.