This review is from: Riddle (Kindle Edition)
Kort Eriksen returns home having served seven years of a twelve year sentence. It’s been a long stretch inside and now he’s back in Riddle, soaking up the sights, remembering how it was. This time, he’s vulnerable, the object of everyone’s scrutiny ' his mother, the girls across the street, Butch. The only person pleased to see him is Jack of the Sky Harbor Diner.
Horton Newton’s writing is crisp, grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let up. With the plot picking up speed and the suspense following suit, you begin to feel an underlying tension that just won’t shift. And that’s what makes this book. It’s not that I felt sorry for Kort, far from it. He doesn’t need pity. He’s too charismatic for that. I was fascinated with him. He’s an outsider trying to re-acclimate to a hostile environment and, emotions aside, managing rather well. Newton’s ability to climb into the minds of her characters speaks for itself. We mustn’t assume Kort’s return is going to be that easy, snide remarks and narrowed eyed looks are only par for the course. They believe he’s a convicted killer and we can empathize with his dilemma, but we know there is something far more appealing about Kort than just the matter of his exceptional heritage.
Grace Donahue has car problems, seems like she’s in need of a new transmission. With a few options and fewer dollars, she checks into a hotel and takes a bite to eat at the local diner. This girl’s no lightweight, witty and determined she meets Kort, accepts a short ride in his truck, and latterly takes residence in Riddle. Trouble begins to brew when a newsflash releases footage of Kort Eriksen and the murder of Desiree Steele. It’s particularly engrossing to read about the past of a tortured hero and clearly Grace feels more captivated than deceived. As Newton points out ‘She struggled to match the boy in the reports with the man she had just met.’ This is the very essence of the story.
As Kort tries to put old ghosts to sleep and bury the what-if’s, we wonder about the driver of the small dark car and we wonder why Butch is keeping such a careful eye on him. I enjoyed the strained relationships and the complex characters - a letter, a poignant Polaroid and a dead girl’s secrets - and an ending I wasn’t expecting. Newton skillfully weaves past with present and like a roller-coaster ride, we can neither get off nor want to.