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I have a few quarrels with The Dolls House. This is the second in the Dr. Kate Pearson series, but if I didn't know, i would swear this was written by a different author. I thought 'Red Ribbons' was excellent- it was suspenseful, entertaining , the right balance between characters ' personal interactions and the mystery, which kept me guessing. This one felt just the opposite. Reading this novel was simply not fun. Tedious, convoluted, the Plot unfolds too slowly on its own and is further hindered by too many subplots and minor players' POVs that tangle like so many threads shoved through the eye of a needle.
The title of The Doll's House is inspired by the place where Clodagh Hamilton goes during her long, painful (for the listener) hypnosis sessions. After her mother Lavinia's death, Clodagh feels that the strains within their relationship - addressed AFTER her mother's death- lie somewhere within her repressed past, and she is determined to find out what happened.We spend many chapters painfully slogging through the details of the hypnosis sessions with Clodagh. These parts alone are enough to relieve my review from at least one star. The hypnosis sessions are written in a question/answer form of dialogue that is overall very tedious to listen to. I think this type of format would be better on paper. Granted, there are a few important climactic moments where the style helps build tension well. Overall, it became incredibly tedious.
Meanwhile, local men are showing up dead, beaten and drowned. Detective O'Connor recruits Dr. Kate Pearson's profiling assistance to track down the killer. The side plots include Dr. Kate Pearson's private practice client with repressed memories similar to Clodagh's case; a series of rapes that may or may not be connected and/or relevant to the murder inquiry; and the personal and professional challenges of O'Connor and Kate.
There are far too many characters in the book making it impossible to sort out who is who in the short, choppy chapters, each from a different point of view, sometimes from a completely random character. There is not room for the characters to drive the plot forward. The case itself is stagnant for about two weeks while O'Connor sinks around and Kate's profiles are mindless. By the time the suspense should have been killing me, it was actually ennui that put me to sleep. Finally, the narration didn't add much. I found the reader's cadences to be monotone and her accent was barely there- I love a good Irish accent when I am listening to an Irish novel.
I wanted much more from this novel than it gave. I hope the author's next in the series garners a much better recommendation from this reader.
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