Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What Strange Creatures by Emily Arsenault

The Battle family knows how to handle disappointments.  Of course they do, they've encountered so many of them.  Jeff, who has a genius IQ, has never gotten going in life.  He has worked a series of dead-end jobs and drinks a lot.  Theresa, his sister, has spent years working on a dissertation on a medieval female religious hysteric, her marriage dissolved and her years working as a copywriter for a candle company mounting.  She lives alone surrounded by her pets.

Teresa worries about Jeff so when he asks her to pet sit his latest girlfriend's dog for the weekend she agrees.  She doesn't really care for Kim, but if it makes her brother's life easier, she is agreeable.  Kim is going home to visit her family but then she doesn't return, and upon inquiry, she never went home at all.  No one seems to know where she is and then days later, her body is discovered in a town where she seemed to have no connection.

That's horrible but what is worse is that Jeff is arrested and charged with Kim's murder.  The Battle family rallies round, but don't seem to have any positive ideas about how to help Jeff.  Theresa decides that she needs to investigate Kim and what she was doing in the last days of her life since the police seem to have stopped the investigation with Jeff's arrest.

As she delves into Kim's last weeks, she discovers a strange crew of acquaintances.  There's Kyle, who was Kim's first lover and who has remained in her life.  Nathan worked with Kim and is a strange guy with a penchant for snakes and mysticism.  Zack is a former teacher of Kim and Jeff's; his class on memoir writing where the two met.  Then there is Missy who knows many of Kim's secrets stretching all the way back to childhood. 

Emily Arsenault has written an engaging novel about the intricacies of families and what they will do to support each other.  Theresa is a memorable character.  At one moment she seems full of self-knowledge but at the next unable to act on the knowledge she has to carve out a satisfactory life.  The mystery about what Kim was up to is interesting enough to keep the reader going.  This book is recommended for mystery readers and those interested in family relationships and stalled lives. 

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Wow, I what a shock for Theresa! I can't wait to see how things turn out.

Thanks for being a part of the tour.