What if you were born broken? A propensity for evil followed you. What if when your mind wondered it floated to carving up another’s skin. Imagine if pain were a word you knew only by definition, never through experience. This book follows two sisters, one genetically incapable of sensing physical pain. The other experiencing affect only as a surface condition.
The characters in this book are contrived- in the best way. I do see the deliberate balancing that is happening. Pain is a motif. DD Warren opens the story as the sympathetic victim, physically injured and mentally distressed about her pain. She serves as a direct comparison to Adeline who faces the challenge of an inability to experience pain and Shana who lacks the emotional range to have distress. The story is partly an exploration of which situation has bigger pitfalls. Her being injured is genius concocted. As well as Adeline’s genetic condition is a fresh element. Cops get injured in many stories and criminals are often antisocial. Those are standards in components. Adeline is unique.
I like the nature versus nurture debate that the characters face in this novel. Other than the same gene pool Adeline and Shanna share very few formative influences. Seemingly they are very different women. Actually, they both suffer in ways only the other would understand.
I, being new to Lisa Gardner, was in the position to be surprised by her ending. I did not know if her style was more thrilling and the identity of the killer was never meant to be a mystery to the reader because the book was all about the action and irony, or it was the style to build suspense by leading the reader down dead ends.
I like that the detectives were getting nowhere searching for a killer forensically. This spares scientific jargon. Adeline and Shana’s conditions need technical explanation. Approaching the investigation by motives was a choice that kept the story uncomplicated by skimping on the science aspect. I enjoy when a story is well thought out enough to have meaningful patterns. I also liked the detective’s debates on the gender connotations of crime to try to whittle down the suspect pool.
The psychological principles are well applied. I see a few paradoxical character traits and diagnosis in Shana but I feel like the reader is supposed to grow a fresh understanding and a softness toward Shana. Shana’s character doesn’t change as much as the information provided to the reader changes the reader’s perception of Shana’s character.
I enjoyed that this book centered around strong female characters. I liked the pace the story kept. There was action beginning middle and end rather than one big crescendo at the close. It resolved well. All the guilt and innocence became known. The resolution left me very satisfied.
The plot and craftsmanship of this book are great. This is a 10/10 recommendation.