Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Beauty of the End

The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells
Kensington: 7/26/16
eBook review copy; 320 pages
ISBN-13: 9781496705983

The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells is a recommended psychological thriller/murder mystery.

Noah Calaway is currently a writer, formerly a lawyer, living a quiet life in an inherited country cottage in Devon. When he gets a phone call from an estranged friend, Dr. Will Farrington, telling him that April Moon, a woman he loved since he was 14 years old and was going to marry at one time, is currently in a coma after a suicide attempt. She is also the lead suspect in the murder of her stepfather. Noah is certain that she is innocent. He rushes to Kent where April is hospitalized and decides to act as her (unofficial)  lawyer while trying to detangle the various threads of what happened and why in April's life.

At the same time we are privy to the discussions a teenage girl named Ella is having with her therapist. The two stories will eventually merge at the end, so while it seems like a pointless addition to the plot, it will eventually make sense.

The story of Noah and April bounces around in time to cover when he knew her as a teen and later, when they were older. The chapters are dated to assist readers in keeping track of the time period of the events (1989, 1994, 1998, 2016 - but not in chronological order). Unknown to everyone, all the time periods are full of deceit and lies. 

The character of Noah is a wee bit pathetic in the present day as he reminisces about the April he first laid eyes on and loved years ago. It takes effort to accept that he'd take off to be by the side of someone in a coma that he hasn't seen or spoken to for 16 years, especially when she made it clear at that time that it was over. Actually, he was kind of a dolt as a teen and young adult. It is also a stretch to think he was actually a practicing lawyer, as he seems to have a difficult time asserting himself with anyone. Noah certainly has very little discernment in dealing with people. He does manage to figure out what happened, eventually.

The Beauty of the End is well written and will certainly provide escapism for a summer vacation read. It isn't a bad novel by any means. It just wasn't a great mystery for me.  Although the pacing is a little slow at times, once you get the gist of the story it is easy to read quickly. A 3.5 but I'm rounding down for this one. Howells' The Bones of You was better.

Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.

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