Hello everyone! I’m back after a break during which my sprogs have been off school for spring break. Mixed feelings, people, mixed feelings.
I want to jump right back into the swing of things with a review of a book I enjoyed while we traveled to and from Austin (which was great fun and included much people watching).
Woman in White is not my first time reading the work of Kristin Dearborn. I enjoyed her debut novel, Trinity, loved her story Sacrifice Island (my review of it here), and I’ve had the privilege of listening to her read “Spider Cheese” on a couple occasions. Woman in White maintains Ms. Dearborn’s reputation for weaving an excellent tale.
(I hate spoilers.)
At the beginning of the story, we accompany poor Dennis to his girlfriend’s house in the backwater town of Rocky Rhodes, Maine. A blizzard rages as he makes his way along an isolated road and, to his surprise, finds a woman in the storm. He offers the silent (creepy) woman help, and it’s the last we hear from Dennis. Remaining is a great deal of blood, but it cannot be linked conclusively to Dennis… nor anyone else.
When big-city forensic scientists arrive in Rocky Rhodes for what they think will be an open-and-shut case, they’re shocked by what and who they don’t find.
What follows is a story bathed in blood, missing men, a startling lack of forensic evidence, and women determined to stop the disappearances. Three women from differing backgrounds come together to solve the mystery and, possibly, save their town.
This is a different take on the classic “white lady” urban legend. Unlike a typical ghost story, Dearborn’s woman is tangible, in very surprising ways. I was delighted to find that Dearborn upends the trope with something new and fresh. Her characterization brings the residents of Rocky Rhodes alive, and gives them authentic struggles in the small-town atmosphere.
Dearborn describes the blizzard raging in Rocky Rhodes to perfection. There’s something so effective about a horror story set in the snow… it muffles normal sounds and makes communication and travel difficult. The blanketed town feels stifled and claustrophobic.
I particularly liked the forensic angle Dearborn adopted by rendering the evidence unusable. If a substantial amount of blood doesn’t seem to belong to anyone, not even the person to which it is assumed to belong, then the presence of the blood merely adds to the mystery. What’s going on when fatal amounts of blood are found at crime scenes, but no one knows who the blood belonged to? Good questions, and ones that the scientist side of me appreciated.
Highly recommended read.
Find out about Kristin Dearborn at her website: kristindearborn.com