Number of pages: 375
This novel opens with the main character, Beatrice, learning that her younger sister Tess is missing. Tess was recently pregnant, but the baby reportedly had cystic fibrosis. However, despite being cured by some experimental procedure, he died shortly after being born due to other complications.
I thought I could see where the plot of this book was heading until...
[Spoiler (click to open)]
Early on in the book, Tess is found dead, and the novel turns into a whodunit which eventually revolves around shifty gene therapy procedures that Tess was subjected to, the implication being that she was killed because she found out and was going to blow the whistle. However, everybody else insists that she must have committed suicide because of her baby's death.
The novel is written in a very unconventional way, in the form of a memoir written by Beatrice and addressed to Tess in the second person; throughout there are several brief flashbacks to conversations the sisters had with each other. I found it quite interesting and original that towards the end, during the most intense scene in the novel, the narrative kept showing flash-forwards of what was going to happen at the end
The thing I really liked about this book was the depth the main characters were given, and Tess is given a personality very quickly, just through a description of what her house is like, as well as the things she says in the flashbacks. The only issue I had was that the pace of the book seemed quite slow.
The story eventually built up to several unexpected plot twists and a particularly dark finale, the denouement of which (according to the Q&A at the end of the book) was intended as open to interpretation. I thought that overall this was an enjoyable book, and I loved how Beatrice's fight for justice and determination to learn the truth was portrayed. Overall, a good debut novel.
Next book: Sphere (Michael Crichton)