Review copies, Thriller

The Girl in the Box – Sheila Dalton – 8/10

“Was it possible to keep loving someone who had destroyed my life?”

I’ve done really badly with review copies from LibraryThing in the past – I had two thrillers turn out to be uber-religious proselytising. However, this one (which I wasn’t all that convinced by on the blurb) was a revelation – it was the cause of failing-to-go-to-bed-because-of-book, which is always a good sign for a book.

Psychoanalyst Jerry goes to Guatemala to track down some shamans and talk to them about the use of drugs in therapy. What he finds is an abused Mayan girl, to whom he could give a better life in Canada. His partner Caitlin is very understanding and co-operates with his plan to bring Inez back to Canada for political refuge and therapy, but when Inez is found holding a marble lamp over Jerry’s dead body, Caitlin’s world is shattered. She can’t figure out why sweet, mute Inez would kill Jerry so violently. And thus Caitlin’s story begins…

The characters in this novel were far better constructed than I had expected. Both Caitlin and Jerry are deeply intellectual, sympathetic people, although Jerry is quite free-spirited and Caitlin more given to unpredictable bouts of anger. Inez is a terrific creation – sweet tempered and loving but with a terrible past which flares in nervous outbreaks. The supporting characters (Margaret, Inez’s live-in nurse; Michael, Jerry’s fellow analyst; Molly, Caitlin’s confidante) are kept to a minimum in number and thus also developed strongly.

As a murder mystery, this one does not play by the rules – we know who the victim and perpetrator are right at the start. The mystery is the motive – and the suspense is kept up throughout the novel; we get an idea of the villain pretty early on but the explanation comes very late.

Definitely worth a read – not a book I would have bought but one I am very glad to have read!

Additional information:
Copy won from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers giveaway program.
Publisher: Dundurn Books, 377 pages (paperback)
Order Girl in the Box from Amazon*
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards give-aways and site hosting

2 thoughts on “The Girl in the Box – Sheila Dalton – 8/10”

  1. This sounds like an interesting take on the crime/mystery genre, although like you this probably isn’t one that I wouldn’t’ve picked up ordinarily.

    I know what you mean about being surprised by religious zealotry, too–I’ve had that in quite a few romances I’ve read!

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