(Reviewed by Kam Aures NOV 30, 2003)
On April 5th Callie Thayer arrives home to find an envelope stuck in her door. The note enclosed reads: Happy Anniversary, Rosamund. I haven't forgotten you. "The shock was so intense that at first she didn't feel a thing. Like plunging into ice-cold water, unable to catch your breath, hurling down and down, not knowing when you'll stop. She clutched the note tight in her hand. Everything had changed."
Besides Callie, this note had been delivered to two other people, Melanie White, a lawyer and Diane Massey, a true-crime author. The one thing that they all had in common was that in one way or another they were associated with a psychopath named Steven Gage.
Gage was a serial killer who took more than one hundred women's lives. He received a death sentence and his execution was carried out five years prior on April 5th.
Callie is Steven's ex-girlfriend and she testified against him during his trial. She has since moved and changed her name in an attempt to escape her past and to start her life anew. Living with her daughter Anna in the small town of Merritt, Massachusetts she thinks she has successfully accomplished her goal. However, these dreams of a normal life are shattered with this note and the horrifying events that will follow.
Melanie was Steven Gage's lawyer in his failed appeal trial. Since then she has tried to move on and to erase the stigma bestowed on her by defending one of the most terrifying criminals of all time. Currently engaged and living in New York City she is a successful, high-powered lawyer who has put the past behind her -- until Callie calls about the note. Callie immediately knew the meaning of the note, but it took her call to Melanie in order for Melanie to make the connection as to what it was all about.
Diane Massey, the third woman who received a note, wrote the true crime novel, "The Vanishing Man," which detailed the crimes that Steven Gage had committed. Throughout The Anniversary there are excerpts of Diane's book allowing the reader to fully understand what kind of monster that Steven Gage was. At the time she receives the note she is in a secluded area of Maine writing another true-crime novel with a deadline fast approaching.
All three women's lives are about to change drastically as a result of the note. The past that they thought was long ago buried has come back to haunt them and no one can figure out who is behind it. Steven Gage has been dead five years already so who is terrorizing them today? Amy Gutman is an incredibly creative and gifted suspense author and The Anniversary is a very engaging and chilling read. Just when you think that you have the ending figured out there is another twist to make you second-guess. These plot twists smoothly flow into each other but you will never see them coming. Normally I read books to help me wind down enough to go to sleep, but once I got into this one it was like I drank a pot of coffee. I made the mistake of starting the second half of the book at 11PM and was up until past 2AM reading because I could not put it down until I found out how it ended. I highly recommend Gutman's newest novel; it is an incredibly gripping thriller and one of the best of the genre that I have read in awhile. However, unless you want to be up all night reading like I was I recommend starting it at an earlier hour!
- Amazon readers rating: from 17 reviews
Read a chapter excerpt from The Anniversary at MostlyFiction.com
(back to top)
Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
(back to top)
- FictionAddiction.net interview with Amy Gutman
- BookReporter.com review of Equivocal Death
- BookLoons review of The Anniversary
(back to top)
About the Author:
Amy Gutman was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. After graduating from Harvard University with honors, she began a career in journalism. She worked briefly in Washington, D.C., Tennessee and then Mississippi. Eventually, a job offer from the state's higher education commissioner lured Amy away from journalism, and she went on to become the founding director of the Mississippi Teacher Corps, a nationally renowned program that recruits outstanding college graduates to teach in rural Mississippi school districts.
After three years in Mississippi, Amy decided to make her way back to the East Coast, where she enrolled at Harvard Law School. Amy graduated in 1993 then moved to New York City to pratice law. After four years, and two firms, she left to become a full time author. Amy splits her time between Manhattan and western Massachusetts and now serves on the New York City Bar Association's Lawyers in Transition.