Gone by Morning by Michele Weinstat Miller, published by Crooked Lane Books, out on 10 August, 2021
This was a fun read. Kathleen is a lady with a past: she spent five years inside for homicide, and left prison to become an entrepreneur in a somewhat unusual business. Her daughter is estranged from her, and Kathleen knows her granddaughter only through circuitous means. She lives her life keeping under the radar. Until one morning when she narrowly escapes being blown up in a terrorist attack on the subway.
That attack has no obvious relationship with Kathleen. When, however, a part acquaintance of hers turns up out of the blue, only to skip the appointment and turn up murdered instead, Kathleen’s neatly ordered life begins to unravel.
From there on, and very much in line with the genre, the plot unfolds. The twists and turns are nicely calibrated, never too far out of the ballpark to come as complete surprises, yet far enough out that they are unexpected. That suspension of disbelief that Kundera identified is never quite breached. There is the mighty coincidence without which no crime thriller can stand, the allies in unexpected places and betrayals closer to home. New York, where the book is set, is not quite the third-character that L.A. is in Chandler’s novels, but nor could the story take place anywhere else.
My only gripe is that the author doesn’t always seem fully in control of the plot – especially Kathleen’s relationship with the cops. It’s not quite implausible, but it isn’t quite plausible either. That aside, this is great fun, baddies who are despicable and good guys who are interestingly conflicted. Well worth the price!