Since there are numerous reviews revealing the plot and characters, I will not take up time and space and go down that same road again. Contrary to many reviewers' opinions, I did not find the book depressing. On the positive side, it was a real page-turner from start to finish and one of the main characters, Madaline, kept me chuckling along the way especially in her youth. The book begins in the 60's, and for me, brought back many memories of old songs, movies and celebrieties mentioned that were long forgotten. (If you are too young to reminisce about Dion and "The Wanderer", well...you simply don't know what you missed!) There was also a touch of everything from family life, and the exuberance of youth, to rape and murder -"something for everyone," as one might say. The book is a lengthy one and has a surprise twist at the end regarding who actually committed the murder.
On the negative side, the participation of Madaline's father's (Jack's) involvement in the air force, past activities and rehashing of outdated military events become boring and tedious at best. Overall, I would recommend the book, although there may be parts of Jack's long-winded military career, which really added nothing to the book, that the reader might like to skim through or pass by entirely. It often seemed like the author was trying to write two books but decided to combine them in one, i.e., one about Madeline, her friends, family life, and murder, and one about Jack's life in the military. Somehow the two simply did not gel well together.