It pretends to be a compassionate book about open adoptions, and indeed in its acknowledgements at the back of the book Nykanen talks about all the interviews women gave him regarding their experiences. Imagine the horror with which these women will then pick up this novel and find their confessions so distorted. It's not about healing or closure or changing the system, it's a book filled with pornographic and violent images, scenes and chapters of women being abused and tortured in unimaginable ways, in the name of "dark thriller" writing. Who's enjoying these scenes? Who dreams them up? Suzanne is a "search angel," a private eye for orphans who specializes in reunited unfortunate women with the children they gave away long before. For years she has held on to her one secret, that she herself, the daughter of an unknown birth mother, had herself had a baby at fourteen, a son coerced out of her by a nasty priest. Now it's time to tell the world about it, and now is the time that a series of horrible murders starts littering the US landscape, commnitted by this one guy who tells his side of the story in his own words. The author has a nasty little imagination, doesn't he, but I would caution anyone who doesn't get off on sexual violence against women to avoid this particular story.
However, for what it's worth, there are some good suspenseful situations and set-ups, and the author knows how to describe a good mudslide, and a good bonfire.
But in the long run is the game worth the candle? It's not like I haven't read endless numbers of "serial killer-mastermind" novels before, and in general I think I'm sophisticated enough to separate a character's actions from the mind of the author who created him. This is the first book I can remember that, after reading it, I thought the author had slipped into some truly clinical and aberrant behavior, the first time I can ever remember in which I'd be afraid to meet a writer. It is plain as paint on a barn that he relishes the suffering of his victims. Loathsome.