Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Literally the Best Reviews: The Dead Girl in 2A

The Dead Girl in 2A - Carter Wilson
Poisoned Pen Press
416 Pages

Sometimes, psychological thrillers can put me as a reader right on the edge of my seat as I attempt to figure out the twist that will make the whole novel fall into place. The Dead Girl in 2A by Carter Wilson seemed to fit the bill when I saw it on the shelf at the Lockport Library. These types of books are always better when you fight to find the connections before they’re actually revealed, and then how the reveal is pulled off can be a thing of beauty. 

Jake Buchanan is on an airplane, heading to Colorado where he will be ghosting the memoir of a man he’s never met. Seated next to him on the plane is Clara Stowe. They are strangers, but he feels as though they’ve met before. Somehow he knows her. When he finds out that she is on her way to Colorado to kill herself, Jake cannot keep her out of his mind.

Jake is a damaged soul, having crashed his car some months before and injuring his only daughter, Em. Faced with her possible cognitive impairment after the accident, he slowly recedes from his family life and moves out of the house. And he’s been having memory issues. He has to remind himself what he ate or what he did as an exercise to remember.

Meanwhile, Clara has been having the same issue. She can’t quite remember her past. After entering a case study for memory loss, she decides that her only course of action is to end her life. For some reason despite being a virtual shut-in, she decided that this remote place in Colorado is the last place she wants to see. It’s where she will end it all.

Unbeknownst to either of them, they are thrust together by a man seeking the truth not only to their secretive pasts, but also to his own. Hoping to discover the truth behind a dark chapter of his childhood, Landis works to bring them together in hopes that they can combine their scant memories for a chance at the truth. Mixed into this mess are several other characters who may or may not have the best interests of Jake or Clara at heart. Jake is never sure whether he can trust anyone else, or not. 

Some of the twists can be seen almost from the beginning, although the biggest twist at the end definitely is a bit of a surprise. The characters are written very well. Clara, at the beginning of the book, seems morose and depressed, focused on ending her life to escape from all of it. Jake has a paranoia that haunts him throughout the book as well as a deeply ingrained guilt for his part in his daughter’s injuries. These characteristics shine through in the writing. 

While some of the mysteries were telegraphed fairly early, the overall suspense will pull you through the pages until it’s completely unveiled. The big moment at the end of the book will lift the dread you’ve been feeling all narrative to that point. And there’s a warm moment at the end that will take the edge off that you got from reading this thriller. 

I liked The Dead Girl In 2A by Carter Wilson. When I go to the library later today, I am going to see if they have any other books by Wilson and see if any of them beg me to take them home. I like a novel that makes you question what you think you know. This one did that for me for the big reveal, and I was happy when I figured out the small details. That made it a fun book to read.

Craig Bacon once had a secret fort in the woods where our club used to hang out. It’s all overgrown now.