I am an avid reader. Since the age of 11 I have chain read one book right after the other. Finish one, put it down grab another. A few years ago, I took an accounting of what my favorite and least favorite books were and I discovered that almost all of the books I disliked were written by women. Some of my favorites have been by women too, but for the most part, the books I hate the most are from female authors. I have therefore tried to stay away from female authors ever since. I have so little time that I must be picky about what I read.
So when I was first asked by my boss here at Reviewspew.com if I wanted to read and review the new novel by Brandilyn Collins; Gone To Ground, I knee-jerk responded with “Hell no” and got real eloquent and said “I ain’t got no time to read something writ by a woman.” The manager of Reviewspew.com is pretty smart though and rebutted with “She’s a redhead.” “Oh, well that’s a tiger of a whole different stripe then,” I responded.
So I looked her up and as advertised, Brandilyn Collins is a redhead, and not just a redhead but an extremely attractive, nay sexy redhead. She’s also close to my age which made her all the more attractive to me. But I wasn’t convinced quite yet. Then, in the middle of the night, I awoke with this voice in my head saying, “If you review it, she will come”. So I read it and now I’m reviewing it, all with the full intention of luring Brandilyn Collins into a meet-n-greet or a lunch or something along those lines. Her bio says she maintains a home in Idaho, so it’s not that far of a stretch of the imagination.
Enough about that, time for the review. The gist of the book, without spoiling it anymore than the back cover does, is there’s been a serial killer in this really small, isolated town. All the victims are women of various ages, mostly older until the most recent one which is younger. The victims have all been killed with their own kitchen knife, with a single stab to the back of the head, and were all found in their closet. Now three different women have absolute proof of who did it, but they are thinking of three different men. Pretty gripping stuff and it does grip you throughout the book.
The book is written in 1st person from the point of view of the three women; each chapter focusing on a different woman. It took a couple of chapters to get use to that but after that adjustment, the book flows very well. It’s a real page-turner with a great twist at the end of it. Well written prose and dialog throughout. Ms. Collins said she had never written a book that took place in the south before, and I’ve never been to the south before but the accents and dialects seemed spot on.
I do live in a small town though and she has captured the problems and plights of small-town living perfectly. Everybody knows about Billy Joe Wilkins, the kid down the street that got drunk with his buddies and went around bashing mailboxes with a bat. But now he’s 40 and running for mayor. Or what about Peggy Ann Fergusson who started gaining weight when she was 15 and left town for 5 or 6 months and then came back skinny without any explanation. She’s the head of the PTA now.
See in a small town you cannot hide from your past, and no matter what you may accomplish in your life, your resume is written with indelible ink in the minds off all of those who knew what a dumbass you were when you were young. Now somebody in the town, who you have known your whole life, is murdering women. Hey I remember Johnny Striker was pretty good with a knife back in Boy Scouts. Maybe it was him. Living in a small town is less like paradise and more like abiding in hell.
I enjoyed the hell out of this book and certify it a Reviewspew All-Star. Ms Collins, if you’re reading this, don’t forget me next time you’re in Boise. I’m definitely free for lunch anytime you want. One of the other reviewers will probably have to chaperone though .