Catch up on shows with The Coast On Demand
Friday, June 29, 2012 3:00 PM
William Skyler is the shadowy character at the centre of Lisa Scottoline’s Come Home. His sudden death is announced in a surprise, drunken visit by his teenage daughter Abby to the home of her ex-stepmother and her new fiance. Jill divorced William eight years into their marriage and considers herself lucky to have exited when she did – but she misses Abby and her sister Victoria, whose mother died when they were very young.
William has expired from what the authorities determined to be an inadvertent fatal overdose of alcohol and prescription drugs, but Abby is insistent that he was murdered. Despite Jill’s inclination to believe the worst of William – their marriage disintegrated in the wake of humiliating, career-threatening betrayal – Abby persuades her that there’s enough that’s fishy about the death of her father to warrant further investigation.
Shortly after doing so, the girl vanishes, but leaves no trace in her home of anything untoward. She is simply gone, and Jill, her maternal instincts on high alert, immediately turns to the police. To her great dismay, a teenage girl gone walkabout is not a trigger for urgent action, and in any case, as her former stepmother Jill doesn’t bear any official relationship to Abby.
The indefatigable Jill ploughs on in search of Abby and the truth about William’s life, which she discovers was of the double variety . . . but in service of what? Did he assume another identity with the sole purpose of committing infidelity? What else was he up to? As a paediatrician she is able to revisit the accidental-overdose finding with the advantage of substantial medical knowledge, and as an aggrieved ex-wife she has no compunction about tracking down and squeezing information from the only other woman with whom William appeared to have more than a fleeting connection.
Jill is convinced that in order to embark on a third – this time hopefully successful – marriage, she must get to the bottom of who the hell she was married to last time. Ironically, it escapes her attention that her quest, which quickly becomes obsessive, is endangering her relationship with her fiancé Sam, an ill-formed character whose only function is to serve as a reminder to the reader that Jill has something to lose by solving a murder.
Readable if unremarkable, Come Home boldly leaps beyond limits of credulity with a couple of key plot twists that had me blinking and wondering if I’d accidentally picked up another book midstream. No matter – in the end, everyone goes home happy. Except poor old William, of course.
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