Publisher: New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Date published: October 4, 2011
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via publisher.
Tom Stuart and his wife, Abby, seem to have it all. A nice house, a great marriage, successful careers, and a beautiful twelve-year-old daughter, Caitlin. But their world crumbles when Caitlin suddenly disappears one day without a trace.
The pressure of not knowing what has happened to their only child inevitably forces the Stuarts’ marriage apart. Abby involves herself at church and moves out of the family home, leaving Tom alone to combat his private demons. Abby believes her husband needs counseling in order to deal with everything they are going through, but he refuses, preferring to do things his way.
Abby is soon persuaded by her pastor to put Caitlin to rest once and for all, so Abby does just that, holding a funeral service. But Tom refuses to believe Caitlin is dead and is adamant about remaining at their home, never giving up hope of his daughter’s return. He eventually turns to others who try and help him deal with the situation and who present clues that may help unlock the mysteries surrounding Caitlin’s disappearance.
When Caitlin suddenly reappears four years later, she is unusually calm and unwilling to discuss her abduction. The guilt Tom feels at the loss of his child, over things he thought he could have done differently to prevent her abduction, draws him deeper into a downward, psychological spiral. There are so many questions he needs answered, but his beloved child refuses to set him at peace.
When Tom slowly begins to uncover the truth about Caitlin, he soon learns that nothing can prepare him for the shocking discoveries heading his way.
CEMETERY GIRL by David Bell is one incredible read. I absolutely loved it. It is a real page turner that I found difficult to put down and so well written it gives me goosebumps. It is a unique psychological thriller that keeps the reader spellbound from start to finish.
This book is told from the father’s perspective and is intriguing as Tom Stuart tries to deal with his daughter’s disappearance the best way he knows how. Distraught, Tom goes through various stages of psychological breakdown as he ponders what he could have done differently to prevent her from being taken.
Although I knew Abby was suffering over her daughter’s abduction, I found myself always siding with Tom. Abby appeared to be secretly involved with Pastor Paul who was always with her, influencing her decisions and persuading her to do things she may not have done otherwise. She is a negative influence on Tom, who always remains hopeful that Caitlin will one day return home to them. Abby never seems to support her husband, preferring instead to listen to what Pastor Paul is always whispering in her ear. I didn’t care for her much or the insipid pastor and was glad that Tom and Abby were eventually going to get divorced.
Mr. Bell does an exceptional job in sharing how Caitlin slowly changes over the time it takes to finally open up to her father about certain aspects of her kidnapping. But right up until the end, I was always trying to figure out the psychological aspect of the brainwashing she had obviously endured because of her kidnapper. That a teenager could be so enamored of a man older than her father was an interesting aspect of CEMETERY GIRL.
The characterizations in this story were well thought out. Each was unique in his or her own way, and I found myself liking some and disliking others, as I am sure the reader is meant to do. I love this aspect of CEMETERY GIRL. I often found myself feeling frustrated or aggravated, even angry, over things Tom was going through or had to deal with. It seems everyone is more against him because of what he believes than against Abby, who I came to dislike a great deal.
The dialogue in CEMETERY GIRL is very believable. Mr. Bell has a definite knack for this. And the twists and turns of the dark plot in this story kept me anxious to see what would happen next. I don’t think I have read a book quite this fast in a long while, it was that good. Also, the pacing was perfect, enough to always keep me on the edge of my seat as I eagerly awaited the thrilling conclusion of CEMETERY GIRL.
If you are anxious to read an exceptional, well-written thriller, then CEMETERY GIRL is a must-read for anyone interested. It will quickly suck you in and keep a strangle-hold on you until the very end. David Bell is a wonderful author who should move to the rank of ultimate master very quickly. I truly enjoyed reading this book and look forward to more from Mr. Bell in future. He is definitely one to watch.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.