Length: 202 pages
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Toby Turner’s life isn’t going as planned. A walk along the Blue Lias cliffs was supposed to help him work through the tension of his bookstore and maybe-fiancee. Instead, he discovers the skeletal remains of a woman. The media attention that the discovery brings with it was bad enough. But then Toby finds himself being haunted by a woman he’s never seen before. He believes her to be the woman whose body he found at the Blue Lias – the woman who, as it turns out, had been murdered in 1978. And then Toby falls desperately in love with her. Soon, unable to imagine a life without her, Toby begins to unravel. Reality and imagination begin to blur together and Toby realizes that his only hope for sanity lies in finding out who killed the woman haunting him and find peace for them both.
But the murder of 1978 is connected to the events of today. Toby is pushed into a dark world of crime and death which he’d barely known existed. In the midst of all this, Toby discovers that his best friend, Mark, had nearly been convicted as a teenager for the murder of his girlfriend. It doesn’t help that Toby finds Mark collecting information on missing girls dating back many years – like a criminal collecting trophies. With his reality turning increasingly skewed, Toby struggles between finding out the truth and accepting that that would mean losing the only woman he’s ever loved. But that becomes the least of Toby’s worries when he realizes that the murder of 1978 was one of many secrets that people continue to protect even today. And they’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep the truth hidden. Including more murder.
The Woman from the Blue Lias is a murder mystery with a supernatural touch. I got this book free and, to be honest, didn’t expect it to be much more than average. To add to that, it was written in the first person which, I’ve always felt, is a difficult style to write in because it doesn’t go down too well with many readers. But, as it turns out, the book was really good – it pulls you in from the first sentence and keeps you in its grip until the end.
There were a few things that really worked for the book. The first was the writing style. The entire book is written from Toby’s perspective such that it seems like he’s simply telling you his story. It starts off, oddly enough, on a funny note. The event is anything but comedic, but Toby’s reaction to it is one of disbelief and this-is-so-weird-that-it’s-funny. As the book progresses and Toby’s mental state becomes more serious, so does the writing style. And it happens gradually, in such a way that you can almost share in the experience. What I liked exceptionally was that Toby himself brought attention to the fact that some of his emotions were irrational. This gives the book, and Toby, the feeling of being very realistic – because, at the end, people aren’t made of rationality and logic; they’re made of emotions and inexplicable reactions.
Another very interesting part of the book was the discussion on the supernatural, on ghosts, spirits, and the like. It didn’t just say, “Here’s a ghost, be scared.” It explained some very interesting ways to look at apparitions and people’s experiences with seeing ghosts. Whether true or not, I don’t know. But definitely thought provoking.
The story line of the book was good too. I wouldn’t say it was completely unexpected, but there were parts that came as a shock, and parts that made true the suspicions you formed while reading. Overall, it was quite good on the element of surprise.
The supernatural parts themselves weren’t exactly scary in the traditional sense. There were no malicious spirits who looked terrifying. In fact, the appearances and disappearances of the ghost itself were spoken of in the same relating manner as the rest of the book. And that was what was creepy. It just made everything seem so real that you can actually imagine that happening to someone. It gets under your skin and has you being a bit sensitive to sudden sounds for a while.
In spite of everything it had going for it, the book did miss out on a higher rating simply because it wasn’t the kind of book that would make you think, “This is really high-quality stuff.” The story was good, as was the writing, but there is a lot better out there. Simply put, it just wasn’t as good as a Baldacci or a King. There is just a difference in the level of quality (if that makes sense) that makes the book really good, but just short of great. And the typos didn’t help.
That being said, I’m very glad I read this book. I found it difficult to put down, to be honest, because it moved so fast. I would definitely read more of the author’s work. Only thing is that it would be more of, “Okay, I came across this in my library and remember liking the author so I’ll give it a shot,” rather than an active search.
The Woman from the Blue Lias is definitely worth a strong recommendation, especially to:
- people who want a quick, interesting read
- people who love crime and thrillers
- people who are fans of whodunits
- people looking for a holiday read
- people who want to give new authors/books a try (you will surely not be disappointed)
Let us know what you thought of The Woman from the Blue Lias and/or this review in the comments below!