Look for Her is the fourth title in Emily Winslow‘s Cambridge-set novels of psychological suspense starring detectives Morris Keene and Chloe Frohmann.
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Look for Her Synopsis:
The memory of Annalise Wood has haunted the town of Lilling near Cambridge for decades. She went missing in 1976 and although her body was later found, the investigation went cold with no one held responsible. The grief and speculation surrounding her disappearance are engrained in the community.
Forty years on, another young woman stokes her obsession with Annalise, believing that sharing a name with the dead girl has forged a bond between them. When DNA evidence linked to the Annalise Wood murder comes to light, detectives Keene and Frohmann re-examine the case, picking apart previous assumptions and finding sinister connections to a recent drowning.
With her trademark skill in weaving together multiple perspectives and voices, Emily Winslow paints a complex and compelling portrait of a cold case that is far from dead and buried.
(Allison & Busby, October 2017)
I am a long time fan of Emily Winslow’s writing style. In addition to her searingly honest memoir Jane Doe January, I highly recommend previous titles in this crime fiction series The Start of Everything (Book 2) and The Red House (Book 3).
From the opening lines of Look for Her, a psychologist’s transcript of a session with a client, Winslow’s talent for characterisation and building suspense is once again on display.
My mother picked the name Annalise for me because of a girl who was killed. Her name was Annalise Wood, and she went missing when she was sixteen. My mother was the same age when it happened. Annalise was lovely, much prettier than my sister and I ever became. She was the kind of girl you look at and think, Of course someone would want to take her.
The alternating first-person narrative structure places readers deep inside the minds of characters (old and new), offering unfettered access to their hopes and fears, rational or otherwise. Very few of the characters are endearing, but the combination of raw emotion and psychological sophistry is beguiling.
Look for Her is the most devious and cleverly plotted mystery from Winslow yet. With impeccable attention to detail and judicious timing of disclosures from particular character viewpoints, what at first appears simple steadily becomes a much more challenging problem to solve. There was no stopping and highlighting wonderfully worded passages (despite there being many) — I just wanted to keep turning the pages. And the denouement, intelligent and truly unexpected.
As a follower of this series from Book 2, I really enjoyed the continued growth in characters Morris Keene and Chloe Frohmann, as their lives and working relationship evolve in response to past events and trauma. Those who’ve not read the novels prior are unlikely to gain as full an appreciation for the depth and nuance of that relationship though.
If you enjoy gritty drama, literary thrillers and compelling crime puzzles, I wholeheartedly recommend Emily Winslow’s Look for Her and entire back catalogue.
UPDATE: This title will be released by William Morrow in the US in February 2018.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5 — Overall 4.25
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Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime-Detective, Drama
About the Author, Emily Winslow
Emily Winslow is an American living in Cambridge, and her books are set there and surrounding areas. She trained as an actress at Carnegie Mellon’s elite drama conservatory, which inspired her use of multiple first-person narrators, and her years designing puzzles for magazines inform her playful, complex plot structures. She lives in an award-winning architectural wonder and she and her husband homeschool their two sons.
* My receiving a copy for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.