It’s always nice when the copy on the back of the book doesn’t give away too much. In the case of Liane Moriarty’s The Hypnotist’s Love Story, the back cover summary doesn’t give away anything beyond the first chapter of the novel.
And that turns out to be the biggest problem with the book.
After years of unsuccessful relationships and a few on-line match duds, Ellen O’Farrell has finally met the perfect guy for her in single father, Patrick. But Patrick is harboring a dark secret, one that he quickly lets Ellen in on — he’s being stalked by his ex-girlfriend, Saskia. Seems that Patrick jumped into a relationship too quickly after the death of his wife, Colleen, and Saskia hasn’t taken the break-up well. And while Saskia has never caused any physical harm, the mental and emotional toll on Patrick is starting to strain things for him a bit. Continue reading
Three couples got together for a barbecue one sunny afternoon. But instead of a delightful, fun social event, the barbecue ended up a turning point for all six people involved and the fallout still ripples through each person and their various relationships.
I’d read several of Liane Moriarity’s previous novels before diving into Truly Madly Guilty and found them all to be page-turning stories of “small scale” crimes. Like many of her other contemporary mystery writers, Moriarity’s work dwell less on the actual crime itself and more on the impact it has on the characters involved.
And while circling around the crucial event, jumping between before and after the pivotal moment, worked in the other novels I’ve read by Moriarity, the pieces never quite came together here. Instead of being riveted by the hints being dropped about something monumental happening that fateful afternoon, I was left feeling like the story and the characters are all treading water as we wait for some of the revelations to start coming out.
Once we finally get to what happened that afternoon, I had pretty much checked out of the novel and only really staying around to see if my assumptions about what happened were correct. After really enjoying several other novels by Moriarty, I have to admit I came away from this one feeling a bit disappointed. It’s not enough to keep me from reading more of her works or trying her next novel. But it is enough for me to chalk this one up as one of the more disappointing books I’ve read this year.