Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Anniversary by Amy Gutman

Synopsis From Dust Jacket:

It's been five years since the execution of Steven Gage, a devious, charming psychopath who took the lives of more than a hundred women.

In those five years, three women connected with his case have moved on.  His attorney has rid herself of the stigma of defending Gage.  A true-crime writer has started a new project after her bestseller about his rampage.  And Steven's ex-girlfriend has made a new life for herself - one where she won't be reminded that she once shared her home with a monster. 

But someone hasn't moved on.  On the fifth anniversary of Gage's execution, each of the three women gets a private note... a chilling message that lets them all know they haven't been forgotten, and that in someone's dark imagination, Gage's legacy of terror lives on. 

At the time of his sentencing, Gage issued a terrifying edict that all three women hoped was meaningless.  As threats against them turn deadly, the past explodes into the present.  And one woman is in the fight of her life to uncover who is responsible - a killer who is determined to start up the string of murders right where they stopped. 

Before I go on a semi-rant, I should probably let you know that I don't dislike this book.  For what it is, a typical thriller, it's well written and I really do enjoy the characters.   There was nothing about it that surprised me, but it kept me entertained enough to finish reading it.  Who knows, I may even reread it at some point in time.

After reading this book, and comparing it to the various thrillers I've read over the years, I think I'm finally figuring out the problem I tend to have with them.  When I say "them", I'm really talking about the books that feature a female protagonist, who just happens to have a deep dark secret in her past.  They all seem to use a particular plot point, and it's getting rather old.

I'm trying to figure out why, when the female protagonist starts to have their lives fall apart, they start to suspect their boyfriend/husband.  Whether it involves people around them getting killed, harassing phone calls/letters, or odd occurrences, the suspicion ends up falling on the man in their lives. Normally the man tends to be a second husband, or the first serious boyfriend after whatever traumatic event happened in the past.  I will have to admit that the suspicion seems to come naturally to the women, normally because it was at the hands of a previous relationship that the bad thing happened to them.  But that doesn't excuse the laziness of the author, and I do think it's lazy.

I think plot points that are as predictable as rainfall during a hurricane hurt a book.  Is there really no other red herring you can throw in there?  It rarely ends up being that the new bad guy is the new man in the protagonist's life.  In these books, the new guy is really just a stooge thrown into the book to divert the woman's attention away from the real threat.  Just once, I would like to read a book where the new guys is a fully drawn character, integral to the woman's life, and never comes under suspicion.  I'm not going to be holding my breath, cause I think I would suffocate before it ever happens, but a guy can dream.

Challenges: A-Z Mystery


Tasha B. (heidenkind) said...

lol Well, you can always write that book yourself!

Ryan said...

I don't think I like thrillers enough to do that.