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What Remains of Her: A Novel by Eric…

What Remains of Her: A Novel (edition 2018)

by Eric Rickstad (Author)

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Title:What Remains of Her: A Novel
Authors:Eric Rickstad (Author)
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2018), 416 pages
Collections:Your library

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What Remains of Her by Eric Rickstad



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What Remains of Her is Eric Rickstad's latest book.

Jonah Baum's wife Rebecca and young daughter Sally went missing twenty five years ago from their home in Vermont. Jonah has never been the same from that day. He's living in a run down cabin in the forest, eschewing society, but hoping against hope that they might still be found. Sally's friend Lucinda might remember something still.....

When another little girl is lost in the woods, it is Jonah who finds her. Is she real or has Jonah's mind finally broken?

I liked the idea of the long disappearance and memories from a child perhaps holding the answers. The other little girl, Gretel was an unexpected entry in the plot. (Really? Gretel? Fairy tale lost in the woods Gretel?) And I think it was here that Rickstad lost me. Much time is spent on this mystery child with the plot going in directions that seemed utterly ridiculous. The mystery itself has limited options as to the whodunnit is. (Fairly easy to suss out.) The police investigation I was hoping for never really happened. (And c'mon - clues left for 25 years in the victim's house?!)

Sorry, this one was overdone and overwrought in my opinion. ( )
  Twink | Oct 13, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
What Remains of Her from Eric Rickstad is a thoroughly enjoyable read on several levels. The writing is very good and adds to the overall experience as compared to simply telling a story.

What will likely grip most readers initially is the almost claustrophobic atmosphere, which is a masterful trick since it is taking place largely in the countryside and small towns. Yet the internal workings of the characters works with the wintry mountainous land to create an atmosphere that is both ominous and claustrophobic.

The mystery itself is very good and while many clues are offered about what may have happened, they do not give away the whodunit aspect of the story. Just ignore the people who think that by claiming to have known the outcome they are making a statement about their analytical abilities. The statement they are making is the opposite of what they think. Yes, at some points while reading you will think the correct solution, but you will also think several others unless you are incapable of taking in very much information, in which case you're as likely to overload on the wrong solution as the right one. In other words, this works fine as a whodunit for those most interested in that aspect of a mystery.

The strength, I think, is Rickstad's ability to make the reader feel what his protagonists are feeling. As information is revealed and possibilities open up the whodunit aspect often takes a backseat to the human psychology aspect. How events affect people, how our pasts influence us well beyond whatever may seem obvious. The process of getting to a solution is every bit as enjoyable as the actual arrival.

I would recommend this to readers of mysteries, suspense, and rural noir. The characters are well developed and the journey is at least as important as the destination. While you will certainly be wanting to know where you're headed you will also savor the atmospheric meanderings, both physical and mental.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via LibraryThing Early Reviewers. ( )
  pomo58 | Oct 11, 2018 |
Really enjoyed this book. One of my top reads of the year. ( )
  gail616 | Oct 1, 2018 |
3.5 stars

Fairly simple mystery involving the disappearance of a mother, Rebecca, and her daughter, Sally. The story jumps back and forth between Jonah, the husband and father who is the prime suspect, and the daughter's best friend, Lucinda.

The winter setting of Vermont just adds another layer to an already bleak and depressing situation. The strength of the book is not so much the mystery as it is seeing how the disappearance affects Jonah and Lucinda. There is definitely a haunting type quality to the book as the author really captures their inner struggles as they deal with the aftermath of the disappearance each in their own way.

The story is gripping and I ended up finishing the book over the course of an afternoon. The weakness of the book is definitely the "big reveal". When you finally are told what happened it is not really surprising or unexpected as there were a limited amount of directions the story could go in. However, the author is talented enough that it did not ruin the story for me. By the time I was finished reading, I felt much more of an attachment to the main characters rather than the mystery itself.

I think if you go into this just wanting a good, solid fiction read with complex characters rather than a mystery filled with twists and turns, you will enjoy this book a lot more.

I won a free advance digital copy of this book in a giveaway but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion. ( )
  fastforward | Sep 20, 2018 |
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