I feel this is one of those books that caught my attention when I was in Libby looking at something else. I enjoyed the book.
It tells of Lana, the grandmother, Beth, the daughter, and Jack, the granddaughter, weaving their history through the immediate couple months of investigation of the death of a person found in the slough close to Beth's house, by a member of a kayaking excursion that Jack was leading. Lana is a high powered real estate executive estranged from her daughter. Beth is a competent nurse in a nursing home. Jack is the teenager with big dreams on the water.
The death is considered a murder, so, of course, we have the bumbling cop, the competent upcoming cop, the suspicious everyone else. We have land trusts and big ranches, many people with their own motives, and three different misdirections. Simon does a great job of introducing plausible suspects, introducing characters early, with motives, and with plenty of suspicious behaviours. Which is great for those misdirections.
The character growth is pretty good, without being forced. A couple situations were the of the kind of moments where someone realizes the other person is trying, and that receiving the offer with grace is going to help. I appreciated those moments written down, if they happened more in real life, we'd all be better off.
I am uncertain why the book felt long. I looked several times at the page number, wondering how much more I had left to read, which is either a sign the book is too long or, more likely, the author's writing style doesn't quite fit with my brain at this moment. Which is fine, the book is an entertaining mystery read with a strong female lead (always a win!).
“What?” Lana asked.
“You know how you told me winners never mumble?” Jack held up the book she was reading about Theodore Roosevelt. “He says you should speak softly and carry a big stick.”
Lana scoffed. “You think they let women have sticks?”
Lana looked at her. “Jack, that’s not true. You could escalate. You could threaten to do something way more reckless if she doesn’t let you buy it.”
“That seems kind of immature.”
“Okay . . . maybe you could show her that the alternative is you being unhappy. Stifled. Not able to be your full self.” Lana could see this was starting to click. “Listen, Jack. Life is a negotiation. With yourself. With others. You can’t sit around waiting for someone else to guess what you want. You have to ask for it, even if it’s scary.” Lana took a sip of her soda. “But yes, you’ve got the concept.”