fiction / mystery / review

Find Me by Alafair Burke

Find Me by Alafair Burke was a weird mess. It was definitely presented as a standalone book when I asked for and was rejected for a galley but it contains a character, Ellie Hatcher, who is the main character of Burke’s long-running Ellie Hatcher series. I haven’t read that series (only Burke’s standalone novels) so I didn’t realize this at first. I normally don’t read anything beyond the dust jacket or Netgalley blurb before starting a book.

When reading the book I kept thinking it read like two different novels–the storylines were both convoluted and long but barely connected– but it wasn’t until I read the afterward I realized that there was an Ellie Hatcher series and realized I basically was reading two books mashed up—a stand-alone with Hope and the amnesia plot and then Ellie Hatcher’s dad.

I am really puzzled why Hatcher was in this book. Does Burke not want to continue the series? Was this her way of finishing her story off without having to have a series book deal? I’d really like to know!

Parts of the book involving the Ellie Hatcher storyline contract themselves —she accuses her dad’s friend of murdering her dad and he literally walks to the bathroom and kills himself a minute later but then later she talks about accepting that her dad committed suicide What? The book was poorly written but I don’t think I missed anything.

I don’t understand the point of the serial killer subplot. I felt like it was set up to push the book in a different direction then it was dumped. I was left with the impression that maybe the author had planned it as part of a different book, possibly another Ellie Hatcher novel since that case involved her dad. Was that case mentioned in that series? Or his “obsession” just jammed into this one?

The whole amnesia, living in the good graces of a small town then moving to the Hamptons mystery before disappearing was a good, if campy, beach read-y, idea. I felt like it was rushed and characters were developed for that storyline that didn’t make sense. There was a late-in-life lesbian storyline between Hope Miller, the amnesia sufferer/missing woman, and the woman, Lindsay Kelly, who found her when she first had the accident years ago could have been fleshed out as what exactly Hope did all those years post-accident but pre-Hamptons disappearance. We got the broadstrokes but she was there for over a decade! What was up with Lindsay Kelly and her dad? Who knows?

Why did they spend many pages implying that one of the detectives, Decker, was a sociopath pretending to be normal? He was basically not in a third of the book and his weird personality had nothing to do with anything. Why did we spend so much time with a couple who was selling the house Hope Miller was prepping? They were actually a cute couple and I had hoped for more from them.

When did Alex write the letter? Why?

Burke thanks her long-time editor in this but all I can think is where was she? Why did she let you do this?

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