I haven’t read much by Loreth Anne White yet: I have read two books of her “A Dark Lure” series and liked those well enough to keep an eye on White. Consequently, this book came as a bit of a “shock” because it’s a complete departure from the narational lines established by those previous books.
In “Beneath Devil’s Bridge” we read about an old case from 1997 which regains attention 24 years later due to a young true-crime podcaster, Trinity, who interviews the incarcerated murderer of Leena Rai, Clayton.
As it seems to be all the rage these days, “Bridge” features time jumps between the original investigation of the murder in 1997 and Trinity’s podcast – excerpts of which are used as a device – in 2021.
Rachel, the leading detective in 1997, now retired from her Police Department, around 60, instigated by Trinity’s podcast and the fact that suddenly the convicted murderer, the man who confessed everything and then decided to not ever talk about the case again; the fact that Clayton talks now, privately, makes Rachel “re-open” the case and moves to get to the truth – this time!
»Yet beneath my love there lies a whisper of unarticulated disquiet, a silently mounting anxiety, something heaving and writhing below in my unconscious«
“Bridge” is one of those books that have no obvious flaws – the premise is interesting, the story well told and the language adaequat, in some cases clever and imaginative (»an explosion of truth«). It’s also a page-turner – on my Kindle I always keep the percentage to which I’ve read the book visible. The less I glance at this indicator, the more a book engrosses me. In this case, I noticed the indicator at 4%, 24%, 48% and around 94%.
Twists and plot twists abound and yet the story is intrinsically plausible and sufficiently honest to enjoy oneself – and while not unpredictable, in some cases, I sat and pondered possibilities.
»No matter how much we pretend otherwise—mothers, daughters, grandmothers—there is always a part of us deep down inside that remains the little girl we once were. Whether we are fifteen or forty or eighty, that little person still lurks beneath everything we do, or think, or try to become, or fight against. She’s always there.«
So why award only four stars out of five? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure myself – “Bridge” is entertaining enough and intelligent enough. And yet, some facets felt lacking – what’s the deal about the therapist? He plays a central role and yet remains pretty bland as a character. The ex-cop’s daughter – she, too, is centre stage and yet I struggled to remember her name…
“Beneath Devil’s Bridge” is a well-done, suspenseful who-dun-it that’s very readable and enjoyable but lacks a bit of a soul.