Author: Iris Johansen
Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan knows what it’s like to be haunted by the past. For years after her daughter Bonnie was stolen from her, she fought for closure. But now as she’s striving to begin anew, she can’t shake the feeling that something terrible is about to happen—or maybe already has. When her mother, Sandra, asks for help in finding a missing friend named Beth Avery, Eve is sure that she’s hiding something. It’s odd that Sandra would get involved at all, and the fact that she adamantly refuses to go to the police for help reinforces Eve’s suspicions that something is very wrong.
Eve learns that Beth has been locked away in a mental hospital for years, which makes it even harder to understand how she could have disappeared. As Sandra reluctantly reveals small pieces of the truth about Beth’s identity, Eve is shocked to discover that their lives are strangely entwined, and Beth’s disappearance now puts them all in grave danger.
Desperate, Eve enlists a secret weapon to pick up Beth’s trail: rogue profiler, Kendra Michaels. With an uncanny ability to detect clues and solve puzzles, Kendra begins to uncover the bizarre circumstances of Beth’s escape from what should have been the safety of her hospital room. Beth is on the run, and as her mind clears—detoxing from the drugs that have held her prisoner—she begins to see the threads of a twisted plot within the powerful Avery family, threatening to destroy Beth and anyone else who might jeopardize the high-stakes game that is already in play.
My thoughts: Welcome to the 12th installment of Iris Johansen’s Eve Duncan series which chronicles the life and work of Eve, a forensic sculptor. Overall, I really enjoy this series and really enjoyed this book. My only huge complaint with this book is the author’s clear lack of research about what a music therapist is which I will go more into below.
This book was definitely a fast read for me. As someone who has read this entire series including the Bonnie, Eve, Joe trilogy in between, I am very happy that we have finally solved the Bonnie issue and that the author is moving on. I felt the series was just getting bogged down by the the “who killed Bonnie?” storyline and was losing its excitement. Bonnie was certainly still mentioned and a part of this book, but certainly not to the level as past books. I was glad that the author started introducing some new charachters in this book as well including Beth Avery, Eve’s half-sister who was unknown until this book. I see this storyline developing in future books. This book also introduces us to Kendra Michaels, a music therapist, who has special sensory abilities since being cured of her 20 year blindness. I did not know that Kendra was actually introduced in another book, Close to You, I believe. Had I known this I definitely would have read this first to get to know her better. I see the author breaking off to another series starring Kendra in the future as well as she did with the character of Catherine Ling. These new characters are exciting to me and am looking forward to how they are incorporated into future books in the series.
Now that we have taken care of the Bonnie situation, I am wishing that the Eve Duncan books would go a bit more back to focusing on her forensic sculpting cases. I know this is why I fell in love with this series reading about how she did a reconstruction and the case that developed from this missing person. The series seems to have drifted away from this which is disappointing.
Now, all that being said, I have to comment on my huge frustration with the author’s clear lack of research on music therapy and music therapists. Yes, I myself actually am a board certified music therapist (MT-BC) who works with patients in a hospital setting, so I know what I am talking about. Yes, this makes me a bit more in tune with this issue, but I think authors have a responsiblity to research and characterize people correctly. Music therapists and music therapy as a field is already highly misunderstood in the world, so mischaracterizations in popular media is not helpful. So here goes my education and advocacy for all who care. The author fell right into some common misconceptions about music therapy throughout the book. It seems that this charachter Kendra, a music therapist, has all sorts of education in psychology, etc. (PhDs), but no formal education in music therapy specifically. Yes indeed to be a music therapist you must actuallly study and get a degree in Music Therapy, not simply related fields. A very small point, I know, but it bugs me. Also the author committed a carnal sin in the music therapy world by having one of her characters refer to Kendra as a “musical therapist”. This phrase drives us MUSIC therapists crazy, it is music therapy, not musical therapy. This book doesn’t really talk much about Kendra’s clinical work, which is fine, but also which brings up the question for me, why did she even make this character a music therapist? It seems out of place since her work in this area is not at all important to the book. Was it because music therapy has been more in the media lately with Gabby Giffords, etc? Does she know a music therapist in real life? Did she want to jump on the band wagon on other popular authors having characters in their books who were music therapists, i.e., Jodi Picoult in “Sing You Home”, who by the way did a FANTASTIC job of realistically portraying a music therapist? I don’t know the answer, but if you aren’t going to do the research, don’t put it into your book. Ok, I’m off of my Music Therapy education and advocacy soap box . . . for now 🙂
Overall, a strong offering in the Eve Duncan series. Can’t wait for the next ones to come out in 2013!
Books are Life,