Whodunnit? I Have My Suspicions: A Review of "Suspicion"

 


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Certain books were just not meant to be critiqued too harshly, nor examined too closely. Barbara Rogan's “Suspicion" is just such a book.

I picked up “Suspicion" for three main reasons:

One, it was a ghost story, and I simply adore ghost stories.

Two, it was set on Long Island, where my roots are, and I was craving a taste of home.

And three, I was desperate for something to read and didn't have the time to browse the bookstore.

Honestly, I didn't expect it to be the greatest of fiction. I was just hoping for some passing entertainment.

"Suspicion" is part old-fashioned ghost story and part whodunnit, although throughout, it's a constant guess when it's supernatural doings, and when it's earthly mayhem. That, of course, is a good thing.

Emma Roth, the heroine of “Suspicion, " is a bona fide city girl, at home in the subway, content with the sound of car horns blaring. So when her husband wants to move out to Long Island, she is horrified. There is no way she is going to leave the security of Manhattan for the perils of the suburbs.

But all that changes when she sees the beautiful old house that her husband has picked out. High on a bluff overlooking the Long Island Sound, it is a house right out of one of her novels.

Yes, Emma Roth is a writer - a writer of ghost stories, despite being a staunch disbeliever. And when Emma sees the library high in house's tower, the perfect writing room, she is sold. After all, what writer could resist such a perfect room?

Not too long after Emma, her husband, and son move in, strange things begin to happen - things that seem to leave Emma as the only witness.

Once institutionalized for depression, Emma's family doubts the validity of her claims - the noises in the night, the phantom editing marks that grace her manuscript, and, of course, the ominous threats that begin to plague her, from the most unlikely places.

"Suspicion" has all the markings of a good ghost story - an old house with a history, threats from an unknown source, a heroine with a tragedy in her past, the scent of lavender in an empty room. . .

So is Emma Roth being haunted, or is her past finally catching up with her?

"Suspicion" might be a fine book indeed, if it weren't for Barbara Rogan's writing style. Written in third person present tense, the language is jarring and lacks immediacy, making “Suspicion" difficult to wade through. Roger hears it. . . Maggie says. . . Present tense, normally a viable option for short stories, is rarely used in novels, and is - even rarer - effective in novels. Had Barbara Rogan chosen a different tense for this story, it would have flowed much better.

Still and all, “Suspicion" is not a bad read. The plot, with its twists and turns, held my interest, and - though I had my own “Suspicion"s - I wasn't quite sure “whodunnit" until the very end.

Though I can't wholeheartedly recommend “Suspicion", I can say that this is the kind of book suitable to long plane trips, or perhaps a day at the beach. Blissfully mindless and moderately entertaining, this is perfect reading for a day you want to leave your brain at home.

Lisa is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Poetry .

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