Monday, September 12, 2011

Being paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you…

The Winters in Bloom
by Lisa Tucker

David and Kyra Winter have transcended their difficult pasts and made a happy life together. When they married, they never planned to have a child, but five-year-old Michael is the joy of their lives. So much so that the anxiety they feel about his well-being has transformed into smothering over-protection. They are constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, and on a bright, sunny afternoon it does.

Home-schooled Michael has been allowed out into the yard to play on his own for half an hour. His mother turns away from the window for a moment and he’s gone. Just gone. They know he would not leave on his own, and their fears are confirmed when the police find a note. It states that “Michael is fine and he’ll be back in a day or two.” This does nothing to allay the worries of the Winters, or their frustration with the police investigation. Both David and Kyra have people in their pasts that are unstable or desperate enough to have taken their child.

The story is told in a third person omniscient voice that moves from character to character in the telling of the tale, and backwards and forwards in time as both the reader and the spouses learn the truth of their pasts. This is a relatively brief novel, and the story unfolds in a quick, engaging, and just pleasantly readable fashion. Despite the subject matter, there’s nothing too challenging or serious on the page. Twists and revelations keep the story moving along, and the ultimate revelation of the identity of the kidnapper is satisfying. While both David and Kyra are portrayed as flawed characters, they are almost too good, too likable to be believed. Clearly, the reader is meant to root for this small family to have a happy ending. It doesn’t give the drama an overly realistic feel, but it works just fine for light entertainment. This was my overdue introduction to Ms. Tucker’s work, and I’m very glad to have finally had a chance to read her.

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