Thursday, October 27, 2011

Opinion: Cemetery Girl by David Bell

Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by NAL Trade

ISBN: 0451234677 (ISBN13: 9780451234674)
primary language: English
From Publisher:

Four years after Tom and Abby's 12-year-old daughter vanishes, she is found alive but strangely calm. When the teen refuses to testify against the man connected to her disappearance, Tom decides to investigate the traumatizing case on his own. Nothing can prepare him for what he is about to discover.
My thoughts: Well, I am in a quandary as to this one. While I love suspense and thrillers and the first three-quarters  of the book had me riveted to the pages just to see how the plot progressed, the last quarter of the book not so intriguing and I'm not sure exactly why.

I think part of it is I didn't really like any of the characters. Oh, sure I could empathize with them but as to liking them, it was a no. At times they acted contrary to their character development at the beginning. Obviously, it's not necessary to like every character but there has to be at least one
you can root for. I didn't find that in this book.

Tom and Abby were going in two different directions after Caitlin went missing. Even though Tom was fanatical in his efforts to find out what happened, towards the end I found some of his actions and thoughts  hard to figure out. At times he struck me as entirely self-centered.

Abby seemed convinced Caitlin was not coming back so she turned to her church and Pastor Chris. She had a large monument made and held a memorial service and then said she had "moved on". Hmmmmm . .  how does a mother even do that? Needless to say, this had a terrible effect on their marriage.

Caitlin, I didn't like as a sly, lying little six-year old and I still didn't like her when she was returned to her parents as a foul-mouthed, belligerent teen. At first, she was all over Abby while saying she would not talk about the last four years as they didn't know what "happened to her". Sounds like the ordeal was horrible, doesn't it? But, the next thing you know she is sneaking out a window to return to her captor who she says she loves. Which is it, Caitlin?

Tom's brother, Buster, was another unlikeable character; too brash, crass and a little too creepy in his attention to Caitlin. Actually, Buster made my skin crawl. At several points Tom remembers when Buster would shelter him from an abusive step-father which gives the impression he was a caring older brother but later in the story certain rumors come to light which belie this. At one point  he's beating Tom to a pulp and then turns around to help him the next day leaving me to think he's an unreliable character.  I don't want to give specifics because it would include spoilers.

The unsatisfactory ending left too many unanswered questions for me. A 3* rating to me is I liked the book and it was over all a pleasurable reading experience; 2 is "meh" could take it or leave it. Unfortunately, I think this one falls somewhere in the middle. Of course, this is just my take on the book, you may love it.

David Bell is currently an assistant professor of English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. David can be found at his

Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by SA/ NAL in exchange for my honest opinion.


  1. It's hard to like a book when you don't like the characters! Thanks for your honest opinion!

  2. The cover of this book caught my attention. I am still on the fence.

    I have similar thoughts on 2 - 3 ratings for books. Sometimes characters do take away from the enjoyment.

  3. I don't think I would like this book, as there are too many characters doing things that I find strange and discomfiting. It sounds like you had the same problem. Thanks for sharing your candid thoughts on this one with us.

  4. I can forgive a slow start, but have a lot of trouble getting past a bad ending in a book. I might skip this one.

  5. what a shame...I feel cheated when the ending does not hold up.
    but it is difficult when you do not really like the characters. I understand, having just finished a book where that happen.

  6. Thanks for your honest review. I might have picked this one out from the synopsis, but after your review, putting it back down.

  7. Thanks for the post. I don't think I would have picked this book up because the cover looks creepy.

  8. I'm going with your thoughts on this one. I would've picked it up based on that premise and the awesome cover. I totally get where you're coming from in the rating of this story!


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