The Necklace by Matt Witten: A review
Not that it was a terrible book. That would have made an impression and I probably would have remembered it, but it was just kind of blah. Not really terrible and not really that good.
The writing was okay. Matt Witten is mostly a writer for television and has had considerable success with that. He has also written other mystery novels, but this is the first one of his that I have read. In the end, I resorted to the summary of it on Goodreads to refresh my memory.
One of the problems that I had with the book was that I just didn't like the protagonist that much. She should have evoked my sympathy. After all, her young daughter had been murdered twenty years before. A man had been arrested and charged with the murder. He was tried and convicted and when we come in on the story he is about to be put to death by the state of North Dakota. Our protagonist, the child's mother Susan Lentigo, is driving to North Dakota to witness the execution. She lives in upstate New York so has a long drive ahead.
On the way, she encounters her ex-husband. Their marriage broke apart after the murder of their daughter and her ex is now remarried and has another young daughter.
Not to disclose any spoilers, I will just say that Susan discovers something on her long trip that leads her to believe that the man who is about to be put to death is actually innocent and that someone else who is still free is, in fact, the murderer. She tries to get the FBI to listen to her and investigate, but they are having none of it.
Finally, she manages to reach the retired cop who made the original arrest and gets him to listen to her story and her reasoning. With his help and the help of a cynical but smart teenage girl, she races to try to find the proof that will win a stay of the execution and put the real murderer behind bars.
Susan is a very unself-aware character who is quick to blame everyone but herself. Her conversation relies heavily on profanity and while that doesn't normally bother me - I have been known to use profanity myself - it just felt stilted in this instance. I could not feel any real connection to this character even though her life story should have elicited my sympathy. All in all, it was a relief to turn the last page of the book and move on to something else.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars