Jud Connors was a man with secrets, and after his murder in an isolated lakeside cabin in the Oregon Cascades, it's up to his daughter Abby to learn what they were in order to discover who killed him. The bestselling novelist left clues in his unfinished work, the final book in a trilogy, but first Abby must decipher them, translate her father's cryptic retelling of events that occurred in Southeast Asia long before she was born, and separate fact from fiction.
Abby was grateful for Felicia's matter-of-factness, her steadiness; she had read the entire novel, she knew exactly what Willa and Abby were going through now, and she was the calm storm center that was holding them both together, keeping them from dissolving into tears. Hesitantly Abby asked, "Did the girl, Sammy, did she die that day?"
"I don't know," Felicia said. "For Link the war ended that day; he never referred to her again. I just don't know...."
With the help of Willa, Jud's lover, and Felicia, his closest friend, Abby learns that danger is closer to home than she'd imagined, a truth that's been telegraphed so far in advance that the reader is several steps ahead of the heroine. But the plot's rarely the thing in Kate Wilhelm's fine psychological thrillers. What counts is the lyrical writing, the decency of the protagonists, and the abiding affection Wilhelm feels for her lovingly described Northwest landscape. A welcome addition to her long list of titles, including the popular Barbara Holloway thrillers, The Deepest Water
may not be Wilhelm's strongest to date, but is nonetheless a well-written, nicely paced outing. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
Set in and around her own Eugene, Ore., prolific Wilhelm's latest tale (after The Good Children) of psychological suspense reinforces the solid reputation she's earned for her 40-odd books published since 1963. Abby Connors is mourning the death of her father, bestselling novelist Jud Vickers, at the age of 48. Jud was a womanizing former ne'er-do-well who had recently found success, only to be murdered at his remote lakefront cabin. The local police baffled, Abby soon finds herself doing her own sleuthing, much to the dismay of her husband, Brice, a financial planner who was always jealous of Jud's primary place in Abby's heart. As Abby investigates further, she discovers secrets in Jud's past as well as an unfinished novel. Aware that Jud always based characters and events on people he actually knew, Abby begins to wonder: does the identity of the murderer and the motive lie within those unpublished pages? The brief forays into Jud's novel within the novel are sometimes over-the-top, and some readers may feel cheated by the subtle, nonconfrontational climax. The star of the book, strangely, is the cabin itself, a perversely menacing version of a Thomas Kincade painting and a deliciously eerie setting for the mystery and murder, beckoning the reader to step inside. Then, too, Abby is a plucky heroine whose steely patience serves her well even amid grief and bewilderment. Meanwhile, the ever-present specter of the murdererAcasting doubt on the behavior of everyone Abby has contact withAkeeps the edginess quotient high. (Oct.)
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