Saturday, July 28, 2018

The dead ex by Jane Corry

Vicki has left her old life behind - the good and the bad.  Living in a small seaside town and working as an aromatherapist, her old life is just a memory.  Her peace and quiet is shattered when there is a knock at her door and she discovers that her ex husband has been reported missing, and that she is a suspect in his disappearance.  It's a nightmare situation, especially when the police start to uncover little things that she has keep hidden, little secrets and little actions that may be innocent on the surface but made the police very suspicious.  When she is forced to admit that she has epilepsy it changes the tone of the investigation, especially when she admits that the seizures and medication she takes can cause memory lapses.  As the police and her lawyer investigate her past, secrets that Vicki thought long buried bubble to the surface and threaten to bury her - in grief, or in prison.

As a child Scarlet and her mother would play the game.  Sometimes it was a little scary, but Scarlet was proud of the fact that she and her mother played the game together and that she did a really good job even though she was only eight years old.  That all changes when they are playing the game and the police swoop in arresting Scarlet's mother and dumping Scarlet into the foster system.  For a sheltered young child like Scarlet the foster system is a nightmare of older children who bully her, a foster mother intent on making money and taking as little care of them as possible, and moments that will scar her for life.  The only thing she wants is to be reunited with her mother, but with her mother locked up in prison that is unlikely to happen anytime soon - and when her mother does something unspeakable in prison Scarlet is left confused and vulnerable.

The dead ex is a fast paced read that switches viewpoints between characters in the past and the present.  As you move through the present time, the glimpses of the past help you to unravel the story and untangle the little mysteries about why things have happened the way they have - helping you find little clues to what might be happening and why.  For some readers the switching viewpoints and points in time may be a little confusing and/or frustrating, but using this technique allows Corry to keep the story moving along at a decent speed without clumsy introductory chapters.  

This style suits Corry very well and it was a nice challenge to see if you could figure out where the story might be moving next.  It was also unusual to have a story focused around prisons and prison staff, and the tightly controlled world that exists behind those bars - and the things that aren't as tightly controlled as they should be.  Hopefully there are many more books to come from Corry.

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Reviewed by Brilla

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