mood music: invasion – Eisley
My Murder is a fast-paced, science fiction mystery that immediatley drew me in. I was not familiar with the author, Katie Williams, before picking this up but I will continue to read her work as I enjoyed this novel with the exception of the ending. And the ending wasn’t necessarily bad, I just think it could have been better. I will be including spoilers at the end of this review, but the majority of this will be a brief synopsis and my own thoughts. I wish I could give half stars on here because my rating would be 3.5 stars.
The story follows Louise, nicknamed Lou, a woman in her mid-thrities who was the fifth murder victim of a serial killer who had so far evaded capture. Set during the not-so-distant future in Michigan, Lou was replicated using her DNA as part of a pilot program created by the US government. The Lou we are following is the replica who is still adapting to life several months after her “birth.” She has most of original Lou’s memories, with the exception of the weeks leading up to her death. She is a wife and mother of a nine month old baby girl; the baby was born shortly before the original Lou was killed. Lou tries to maintain as much of a routine and normal life as she can, given the circumstances. Her husband, Silas, is very supportive as he understands the issues she is having, but her father is being evasive of her and she gets the feeling others are having a hard time adapting to her new presence, such as her infant daughter.
Lou is part of a support group with the four other replicas of the serial killer’s victims. She befriends one of the other replicas, Fern, and together they decide to contact their killer, Edward Early, who is currently incarcerated and due to serve out his sentence in an induced coma as part of his rehab. The main reason they want to contact Early is to find out why he chose them as his victims, why he murdered them so violently and why he left them out on display in public. As the story progresses, we realize that not everything is as it seems. Lou becomes suspect of the story she has been told about her replication and wants to understand more about the woman who she has replaced. I am going to divulge into some spoilers below because I feel I need to explain why I am giving this book 3 stars rather than 4. Do not scroll past here if you don’t want a major book spoiler.
Okay. So Fern and Lou secure a visit with Early in prison. During their conversation with Early, he reveals that he is being given a treatment in order to feel empathy for others as part of his sentence, so that when he is eventually released he will no longer be a threat to the public. He also reveals that he has never met nor does he know who Lou is – he confessed to killing her to the police, but in reality, she was not his victim.
This sends Lou into a tailspin because up until this point, she thought her killer was behind bars. Another one of the replicas is part of an online sleuth group and confirms to Lou that they never believed she was one of Early’s victims. The MO was totally different in her case and didn’t line up with the previous four murders. Because of this, Lou begins to suspect that her husband murdered her, but why would he bring her back? Was he keeping this secret, and with Early’s confession, gotten away with killing his wife?
Fern begins doing an investigation of her own, which culminates with her and Lou reuniting at Lou’s father’s house. There, she finally meets the original Lou, alive and well, living with her father for the past year. OG Lou confesses to New Lou that after the birth of her daughter, she experienced severe postpartum depression and was unable to cope with her new life as a mother. She decided to run away with nothing but the clothes on her back and set up the scene to appear as though she was one of Early’s victims. Law enforcement quickly discovered that Lou was not a murder victim, but rather than exposing her, they assisted in faking her death to push the replication pilot program forward. She was the missing link they needed – a young, beautiful, white wife and mother “murdered” in cold blood on a running trail garnered enough sympathy to launch the program with public approval. Everyone in her orbit knew except New Lou, even her husband knew. OG Lou has no intention of returning to her old life and was only lingering around until New Lou put everything together and she was sure she could entrust New Lou with her daughter and husband.
This was the part that didn’t land for me, because instead of going to therapy or getting some kind of help with the postpartum, OG Lou fakes her death and runs away from her old life, abandoning her husband and child in the process. I think there could have been a better way to have arrived at this decision, but it would have involved fleshing out the relationship with other characters in her circle, or even fleshing her out so we could see there was some history of her running away from her problems. That’s never really presented.
I’ve never had a child, but I have heard stories about the irrational thinking that can happen during PPD. Still, the leap to Lou faking her death was a bit much for me, it just seemed like a very random outcome to the build-up of the story.