It’s honestly refreshing to have a book where the main character has actual flaws instead of cutesy “I’m such a klutz!” “I’m just too ambitious!” pseudoflaws. Rachel, our hero, is a straight out alcoholic. And half of the mystery she’s committed herself to solving involves putting her fractured memories of the night of the crime together, a task made more difficult by the wine induced blackout that evening. Rachel isn’t just a heavy drinker, she has an out and out problem, and Hawkins does an admirable job of showing Rachel’s ugly side – you honestly understand why her roommate can sympathize with her and also want her out of her house after one too many carpet stains and days returning home to a passed out Rachel on the couch.
This was a fun potboiler, and it almost but not quite gets the reader to suspend disbelief at some of the bigger stretches – why would you get involved in the first place? Would you really forget events of that magnitude? If your life wasn’t as storybook happy as you remember it being, would you really just forget those bad parts? Seems far more likely that if you’re being gaslighted you’d remember what happened but maybe not why or how, no matter how drunk you were. I mean, I’m not proud but I’ve killed some grief with whiskey before and while chunks of the night are gone I do remember enough to piece it together in a way Rachel can’t for no other reason than narrative convenience.
That said, even if I didn’t fully buy it, it was a fun ride. I’ll definitely pick up a Hawkins book for my next plane ride.