QUICK READ: 'The Reunion' by Samantha Hayes
** Spoiler Alert **
After a strong beginning, with some pretty well-written misdirections--during which the author managed to make just about everyone except for Claire and her mother plausible suspects--this one came apart at the end for me.
While I could certainly accept who the perpetrator was, I had a very hard time with motive for the crime. If he did what he did to "protect" Lenni, it was pretty hard to believe he would have kept her in such squalor and poor conditions for as long as he did. And if he did what he did because he was losing his faculties due to early, early, early onset Alzheimer's disease, then clearly the author didn't do her research about how that disease manifests.
And the underlying theme of men who manage to hide all traces of their most basic selves from the women to whom they are married seemed a little bit belabored here. Not just one character, but two were married to psychopaths who managed to show absolutely no sign of that psychopathy in every other area of their life. In fact, they were apparently decent and loving, though understandably flawed people who in just one horrific incident (never before done, nor repeated) manifested another nature entirely. It would have landed better I think, if the author hadn't spent all her time (successfully) misdirecting us to other suspects and also ensured that she gave us the clues that the perpetrator(s) were even marginally capable of what t(he)y ultimately did.
The shock ending was just a little bit too gratuitous, and the justifications a little too summarily delivered to make for a wholly satisfying read for me. It was still an entertaining and fast-paced enough read for me to want to read another from this author though.
Audiobook note: I read and listened to this one. Excellent narrator who did not get in the way of the story, and probably enhanced it. Her narration contributed to making me want to keep going to the end.
For me, this was a quick, mostly entertaining read, but ultimately, just merited: ⭑⭑⭑