"See Jane Die"
(Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer AUG 22, 2004)
“It was a news clipping from March 13, 1987, about the accident. There was a picture of her.
Written boldly across the piece was a message: I did it on purpose. To hear your screams.”
When Jane Killian was 15, she went swimming on a dare, as far out as she could go. At first the boat coming toward her seemed like a God send -- she was tired, and she could hitch a ride back. But then it aimed directly at her, hitting her in a move deemed to be an accident, but one she knows in her heart of hearts was entirely on purpose.
Seventeen years have passed...she’s had tons of plastic surgery to repair the damage that the boat caused, and her anguish and experience have found an outlet in her original sculpture, which sells very well. She inherited a decent amount of money, and married the handsome and loving Ian Westbrook, a plastic surgeon. She’s also 8 weeks pregnant. Sounds like an ideal life...but this happiness might end. A woman that Ian knew is found dead, and evidence, such as an eye witness description, and a video tape of a man who looked a bit like Ian leaving her room after having sex with her makes Ian the police’s best suspect. To make things harder, Stacy Killian, Jane’s estranged half sister, is one of the detectives working the case. Jane knows her husband didn’t do it, though she feels vulnerable enough to wonder if he wasn’t cheating on her, and so she has to figure out who the killer is, not only to save her husband, but to save herself.
She has her job cut out for her as evidence mounts up against Ian. Different men are introduced as possible murderers, but the true perpetrator is the last one any would suspect.
One of the things that makes this book work well is the relationship that we explore between Stacey and Jane. Stacey is the older sister, when her father died her mother remarried and had Jane. Jane’s grandmother never accepted Stacey, and so when she passed away, the fortune went to Jane. Stacey dated Ian, genuinely felt a lot of affection and attraction for him, but he stopped dating her so he could date Jane. Jane’s beauty has been restored, she’s gaining great success at a career she’s passionate about, and now there’s this baby. All these things must really hurt and it makes it harder for Stacey to interact with her sister, who often seems to take the wrong interpretation of things. (In fact, they both do, often arguing when they should be joining together.) Jane, for her part, feels a great deal of guilt towards her sister, and wants to rebuild their relationship, but any overture right now seems to be a play to help her husband. This complicated relationship creates a lot of tension, both because you wish they would find a way to stop arguing, but also because it gives us an interesting twist on how the detective works the case...her emotions, her needs to please her sister, her needs to be true to herself. We also watch Jane as she works through the situation, worrying over her baby, trying to save the man she loves. And we see Stacey as she builds a relationship with a new partner, and tries to resolve her feelings while staying true to the job she worked so hard to get.
The mystery is cleverly plotted, with a twist that comes off as completely feasible and ingenious. It’s also a twist with extra value...as I went through this book to find the above quote, I saw places that, with what I know now, have a whole new meaning. So it’s not just a thriller, it’s a book that you can enjoy reading again.
- Amazon readers rating: from 23 reviews
Read a chapter excerpt from See Jane Die at the author's website(back to top)
(Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer AUG 22, 2004)
Avery Chauvin was never quite convinced that her father, a prominent and well loved doctor, would douse himself in diesel fuel and light a match...even though everyone else seems to accept his death as a suicide. Cypress Springs, Louisiana is a sleepy, peaceful, old fashioned town. The kind of town Norman Rockwell would have considered perfect. What is the price of this perfection? Rumor has it that years ago a council of citizens, called the Seven, used drastic measures to clean up the town...have the Seven returned? It seems likely...for such a sleepy, quiet place, there seems to be a huge amount of disappearances and suicides. And the reader is not left to doubt that someone is taking justice into their own hands, for right away we meet the Gavel, who waits in the apartment of a woman with loose morals and threatens her in an incredibly original and nasty kind of way....the kind of way that would make even the most jaded of readers squirm in their seat.
Avery starts to investigate, not only because she can’t accept that her father killed himself, but because she finds a shoebox filled with newspaper clippings of one of the most notorious murders ever to happen in Cypress Springs. Why did he keep them? Was he one of the original Seven? Soon she’s joined in her search by Gwen Lancaster, whose brother is one of the mysteriously missing. She’s not helped by the twin brothers who used to be her best friends...Matt, who she planned to spend the rest of her life with until their paths diverged, and Hunter, the black sheep of what seems to be an otherwise happy and sweet family. She’s pulled by the familiarity of Matt and what might have been, even as she finds herself attracted to Hunter, whose friendship with her father and segregation from the town echoes her own feelings. An independent city girl is not considered normal, in Cypress Springs.
This novel is very well done. Spindler balances romance and intrigue perfectly...I was quite smug thinking that I pretty much knew who the Gavel was right off thus was very surprised when I realized that I was wrong....and even more surprised when I found out why. Hunter is well drawn out, and you feel for him, as his father and brother, both cops, seem to suspect him of the different murders that begin to happen shortly after Avery comes home. The creepiest idea, however, is the network of silence that seems to envelope the town, allowing the vigilantes...or vigilante...to judge and execute without mercy.
- Amazon readers rating: from 25 reviews
Read a chapter excerpt from In Silence at the author's website
(back to top)
Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
- Red (1995)
- Forbidden Fruit (1996)
- Fortune (1997)
- Shocking Pink (1998)
- Cause for Alarm (1999)
- All Fall Down (2000)
- Bone Cold (2001)
- Dead Run (2002)
- In Silence (June 2003)
- See Jane Die (June 2004)
- Killer Takes All (June 2005)
- Copycat (June 2006)
- Last Known Victim (October 2007)
Silhouette Special Edition:
Blossoms of the South Series:
(back to top)
- Official website for Erica Spindler
- Mystery Reader review of Shocking Pink
- Mystery Reader review of Dead Run
- BookReporter review of In Silence
(back to top)
About the Author:
Erica Spindler was raised in Rockford, Illinois. She studied to be an artist, earning both a BFA and MFA in the visual arts but a summer cold changed all that. When she went to the drugstore, a free Nora Roberts romance novel was thrown in her bag. That hooked her; for the next six months she read as many as she could and decided to write her own. Since then she has published over 20 novels, with Dead Run being her first hardcover novel.
She and her husband and two sons (who are nine years apart) live just outside New Orleans, Louisiana, a place that her and husband fell in love with while still students.