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5.0 out of 5 starsBecause I enjoy a good mystery and suspense story I don't know ...
Reviewed in the United States on August 12, 2014
Because I enjoy a good mystery and suspense story I don't know how I've not run across Kate Wilhelm's novels before this summer. In "Skeletons", I immediately fell in love with her Barbara Holloway character.. Plenty of good suspense outside and inside the courtroom. It was a hard book to put down once I started read it.
Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2002
An underachiever in a family of academic stars (although possessing an eidetic visual memory), Lee Donne is at loose ends when she fails to graduate college, and accepts an invitation to housesit for her grandfather while he's in London. The security system on his old house is surprisingly sophisticated for a Shakespearean scholar with no interest in material goods, and then there's the noises at night - someone throwing gravel at the roof, it sounds like, though the police find no gravel or evidence of any disturbance at all. Sleepless and terrified, Lee gets her college roommate to come and together they set a trap for the mysterious prowler - a trap that backfires, ending in a man's death. Instead of calling the police, Lee and Casey get rid of the body. This is a bit hard to swallow and, in my opinion, not key to the plot, but naturally leads to some harrowing difficulties. Not nearly so harrowing, however, as what happens after Lee makes a shocking find while searching the house and decides to take action, putting her life and others at risk. The last half of the book is a chase and discovery as Lee puts her phenomenal memory to work exposing the dark underbelly of southern racism and atrocity, staying barely a skip ahead of the villains. Wilhelm's ("Desperate Measures," "The Good Children") flair for nuanced psychological suspense is in top form. Lee is a woman to root for as she finds purpose in life and puts the plot in high gear with her fine intellect and amazing memory. Though fast-paced, the story makes room for the character development Wilhelm readers look for. That first body niggles at the reader though, a loose end never satisfactorily resolved.
3.0 out of 5 starsGets off to a good start but fizzles
Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2003
Lee is the ordinary duckling in a family of brilliant genius swans and sometimes it hurts. After failing to graduate her exasperated mother packs her off to house sit for grandfather while he goes off on a lecture tour. Immediately, things get strange. Someone is terrorizing Lee and she suspects it's due to he skeletons in her family tree. So far so good. I liked Lee and I loved how the story moves along up to this point but two things come close to ruining the book for me. First: Are the nation's creative writing teachers all telling their students that black characters must be written the same way? Lee's black roommate from college is sassy, jokey, and calls her "baby" every five minutes. She also suffers a complete melt down at the sight of a 50 year old klan robe. The author meant well, with this character but I suspect she doesn't know any real live black people and based this character on stuff she's seen in the movies. Next, the description of New Orleans was dumb. As another reviewer said, things have changed. The Big Easy depends on tourism and the scene with the TV never would've happened in real life. The town has had two black mayors, and the police force is mostly black. The author needed to do her research. Bottom line: Would I buy another one of this author's books? Yes, but only after I spend some time leafing through it first and after checking out the Amazon reviews.
5.0 out of 5 starselectrifying psychological suspense
Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2002
She is the ugly duckling in a family of swans. Her mother has three doctorates; her father is a Ph.D. who advises world leaders; while her brother is an internist. Lee Donne has changed her major three times and in four years she doesn't have enough credits to graduate. She takes her grandfather up on his offer to house sit for five months while she regroups but when she settles in, a strange man tosses gravel at her house at night.
Lee and Casey set a trap to catch the man but it backfires and he dies. Lee decides to find out what she is looking for but when she discovers a hidden door in the floor of the photo lab. There she discovers her family's darkest secret, their ties to the Klan. She also finds existence that a third party candidate running for the president once participated in a Klan lynching. Lee has the journalistic story of a life time but she has to live through various attempts or her life to see it in print.
Kate Wilhelm is the mistress of psychological suspense and she proves it with SKELETONS, an electrifying tale filled with so many serpentine twists, readers are always taken by surprise by the plot developments. The maturation of the heroine from innocent protected schoolgirl to fugitive from a well hidden cell of fanatics rings true and shows the depth of the author's skills.