Sunday, January 15, 2012

Don't I Know You? - Karen Shepard

Don't I Know You?: A NovelDon't I Know You?: A Novel by Karen Shepard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'August 1976
It was a Tuesday.  Steven's key worked like it always had.  His mother was lying between the living room and the front hall.  He saw her feet first.  They were bare, and at first he thought she was doing her yoga.'
                                First paragraph of Don't I know You? by Karen Shepard

This was a really interesting murder mystery written first from the perspective of the murder victim's 12 year old son, then wrapped around other lives in the neighborhood.

Gina Engel was brutally murdered in her New York City apartment in the summer of 1976. Her son, Stephen, coming home from a day playing with friends, finds his mother's body lying in the hallway of their home. Could the murderer have been Gina's current boyfriend, Phil; Stephen's abscent father; an ex-boyfriend? It's determined only that it was someone that Gina knew. Stephen caught only a glimpse of a man in green Adidas tennis shoes leaving through an open window. The story stays with Stephen throughtout the first week of the investigation and up until the time when his father comes to take him to San Diego and a whole new life.

Next, two years later with the murder still unsolved, we meet Lily Chin. Lily is engaged to Nick, a wealthy landowner. A strange woman brings it to Lily's attention that her fiance' may have a secret life that was once tangled up with Gina Engel's. Is he a dangerous man or the man that Lily thinks she knows?

Fast forward ten years to the fall of 1988. Louise Carpanetti and her son, Michael, live in the same building that Gina was killed in years ago. Michael is a slow, emotionally-disturbed man who used to water Gina's plants when she was away and had a relationship with her son, Stephen. Louise had recieved a phone call from Gina as she had lain dying. She has always had suspicions that she has kept to herself about her own son. Is it time to come forward?

I thought this book was done quite well, but was left a little disappointed with the ending. All three voices were done well and we got to know the people involved intimately, but the very last chapter that held the answer was too short and lacked the depth of the rest of the novel. I felt that it ended very abruptly.

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