The Book of You by Claire Kindal
Crime Fiction; 368 pgs
A snippet from the publisher's synopsis:
His name is Rafe, and he is everywhere Clarissa turns. At the university where she works. Her favorite sewing shop. The train station. Outside her apartment. His messages choke her voice mail; his gifts litter her mailbox. Since that one regrettable night, his obsession with her has grown, becoming more terrifying with each passing day. And as Rafe has made clear, he will never let her go.
Clarissa is only trying to find her own way after her break-up. She does not know why Rafe is so fixated on her. His attentions are unwanted, but he will not listen when she tries to tell him to stay away. When called to serve as a juror on a seven week trial, she looks forward to a chance to get out from under his prying eyes for awhile. What she doesn't expect is to find a friend and possible romantic interest in a fellow juror. Is he too good to be true?
The Book of You is taut with suspense, and a book that had me holding my breath more than once as I read. Rafe is truly a disturbing man, and the author, Claire Kindal, does a good job of putting me right into Clarissa's shoes. The terror Clarissa feels, the doubts and the helplessness, all felt so real, so raw. I could completely understand Clarissa's attraction to her fellow juror, the need for normalcy and the need to feel protected.
The narrative of the story is broken into both first person journal entries and third person. Clarissa has started keeping a journal in order to document Rafe's behavior, hoping to collect enough evidence in order to make the authorities believe she really is being stalked and is in danger. It took me a moment to adjust to the shifts in narrative, but once I did, I was quite taken with the story and found it difficult to put down.
While the jury trial itself runs independent of Clarissa's own story, Clarissa cannot help but identify with the rape victim. Clarissa sees her own situation through the lens of the trial and doubts anyone will believe her, knowing Rafe will have a rational explanation for everything, however untrue it may be. Her desire to build up the evidence intensifies as the trial goes on. There were moments when I worried that her distraction from the trial at hand was unfair to the entire trial process. It reminded me a bit of my own jury experience and the self-admitted alcoholic who often came to court reeking of alcohol and whose personal life influenced his feelings of sympathy for the defendant who had committed murder after having too much to drink. While Clarissa felt anything but sympathy for the perpetrators on trial for rape and kidnapping (I felt the same), it was clear she over-identified with the victim, however rightly or wrongly.
I was both relieved and saddened by the ending. Much was resolved for both Clarissa and in terms of the trial. There was also a part that was left open, in which the reader can drawn his or her own conclusions. It's one of those endings that will satisfy some and drive others crazy.
Overall, I enjoyed reading The Book of You. It was an intense and emotional read. I haven't found myself looking over my shoulder or double checking my locks like I did after reading Elizabeth Haynes' Into the Darkest Corner, but I am not sure I would read The Book of You before falling asleep at night if you are prone to dreaming about what you've just read.
Rating: (Very Good)
To learn more about Claire Kendal, and her book, please visit the author's Facebook Page.
I hope you will check out what others had to say about Casebook on the TLC Book Tours route!
Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. E-copy of Casebook provided by publisher.
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