BOOK REVIEW: "Come Home," By Lisa Scottoline
What makes a great story? The answer is undoubtedly different for everyone, but for me, here are the criteria:
A whodunnit moment -- something to solve or figure out
Tension -- something to keep me turning the pages
Heart -- I have to be invested in the characters. Otherwise, no matter how great the story is, I won't care where it's going because there's nothing at stake.
If you agree with these things, pick up Come Home, by Lisa Scottoline.
On the surface, the story is a mystery. A man ends up dead, an apparent suicide. His daughter believes something more sinister is at work, however. She believes he was murdered, and his is bent on proving it. She enlists the help of her former step-mother, her father's ex-wife, to help.
What makes this story so interesting, however, goes deeper than the investigation into the man's death. At its heart, this is a story about family. What makes a family? Are families formed by birth, marriage, adoption? Are these bonds severed by divorce, distance, and family tragedy? What forces bring us back together? Where do -- or should -- our loyalties lie? These are the big questions this story asks, and it is these issues that keep the reader invested in the story (that, and the tension the author builds surrounding the crime itself).
I couldn't stop reading this book. Right off the jump, the story is engaging and it will challenge your idea of what it means to be a family. Do you ever stop being a mother? What does motherhood really mean? The deeper the main character, Jill, gets involved in helping her ex-stepdaughter get to the bottom of her father's death, the more she alienates her fiance and biological daughter. As Jill struggles to find a balance between her former family and the new one she is building with her fiance, the reader is taken on an emotional journey right alongside her.
Part mystery, part family drama, Come Home is a must-read if you are fans of mysteries with a fully formed backstory. I have read several of Scottoline's books and have never been disappointed. A truly fulfilling reading experience.