Lisa Scottoline has a history of writing engrossing thrillers that also contain a high emotional content. Some of her past novels include Daddy's Girl and Save Me. Her latest is titled Come Home and it deals with a woman who can't let go of the past even when it threatens her future. It is an interesting book but is not up to the Scottoline standards she has set in the past.
Jill Farrow is a single mother and also a part time pediatrician. Her first husband died but that union produced her daughter Megan, now thirteen. Her second marriage was a failure but it brought her a close relationship with her two stepdaughters Victoria and Abby. As the book opens Jill is in a new relationship with a man named Sam. They are living together, engaged and planning to get married.
One night Abby stumbles into their home and tells Jill that her father, William, is dead and that she thinks he was murdered. Jill tries to console the girl and offers her a place to stay while the matter is being investigated by the police. Later Abby's older sister Victoria confronts Jill and tells her to stay out of her and her sister's lives. She also says there is no evidence that William was murdered.
But Jill cannot stay out of it, even though Sam tells her she should. She decides to conduct her own investigation and spends much of her time and effort in trying to prove Abby's allegations true. Her commitment to this investigation puts a real strain on her relationship with Sam, and possibly with her daughter Megan.
Jill's determination to be a middle-aged Nancy Drew will probably not appeal to all readers. She does not have the skills necessary to be an investigator and much of what she uncovers appears to be just a stroke of luck. When she is in a tight jam something always happens just at the right time to save her. Believability is not a strong suit in this novel.
Scottoline knows how to hold the reader's interest but at what cost? The plot of this book is just too wild and the occurrences in Jill's investigation just don't hold up. There are a lot of exciting incidents in the story but they just add to the overall lack of logic in the storyline.
Then there are the relationships Jill has with the other characters. She appears to be sloppy in her work habits, loyal but foolish in her relationships with her stepdaughters, and negligent in her relationship with her fiancé and her daughter.
When the book ended I was happy I didn't have to deal with Jill any more. Her personality and her actions did not appeal to me as a reader and because of her I was less than delighted by the book. I have been a fan of Scottoline's stories in the past but this new novel turned me off.
There will surely be people who will enjoy this Nancy Drew type of mystery but I am not one of them. I expected more from Lisa Scottoline -- much, much more.
Come Home is published by St. Martin's Press. It contains 384 pages and sells for $27.99.
Jackie K Cooper
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