Pros: Decent mystery
Cons: Stupidity that’s easy to fix and drawn out too far
Rating: 3 out of 5
In Lorie Langdon’s thriller Gilt Hollow (Blink), Ashton, now eighteen years old, is being released from Juvenile Detention. Everyone in his home town, except maybe his best friend Willow, believes him guilty of murder. Because Willow defends him, she has few friends of her own. She and her mother and little brother (Rainn) have been living in the huge house Ashton grew up in, as caretakers for the place. (Ashton’s parents abandoned him when he was convicted.) Ashton won’t own the house (or get the rest of his trust) until he’s 21. Willow is all for Ashton crashing with them–he was her best friend after all–but her mother doesn’t trust Ashton.
At the beginning, Ash and Willow each seem angry at the other person–Ash because Willow never wrote to him, and Willow because he never wrote back to all the letters she sent. Gee, seeing a pattern here? The only thing that annoyed me about it is that it was such an incredibly easy thing to clear up, if either one of them had the presence of mind to say, “why didn’t you reply to my letters?” I hate artificially drawn out conflicts–it usually means the author couldn’t think of other, more natural ways to provide conflict.
I almost felt a little too empathetic in Willow’s case. It was obvious she was going to get hurt emotionally and probably physically, and of course since this is high school there’s always a humiliation piece or two. (I am not fond of that sort of plot.) For a short while I didn’t want to read any further because I didn’t want to see how she’d get screwed over. This does, however, speak well of the characterizations.
Once Willow and Ash warily circle the wagons, they have to figure out who really killed his friend. It doesn’t help that the head of the police has it in for Ash and is keeping an eye on him at every chance.
On a side note: Need a way to quickly establish a growly male as having feelings? Make sure he likes fuzzy animals. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.) It’s kind of second nature for authors at this point.
A number of the things Ash and Willow did seemed reckless and ill-advised; maybe the author was trading in on the fact that his characters are so young.
NOTE: Free book provided by publisher in return for honest review
Expected publication date: September 27, 2016