At seventeen, Lenora Hope
Hung her sister with a rope,
Stabbed her father with a knife,
Took her mother's happy life.
"It wasn't me," Lenora said.
But she's the only one not dead.
The plot: Maine, 1983. Kit McDeere is a home-health aide who made a serious mistake with her last patient. So when her employer offers her the chance to become the caregiver to Lenora Hope, the woman accused of killing her entire family decades ago, Kit has no choice but to head to Hope's End. Even though the thought of caring for a murderer disturbs her. The stately mansion sits on the cliffs overlooking the ocean; it's dilapidated now, and slanting towards the sea as the ground beneath it slowly erodes. Besides Kit, there are three other employees at Hope's End: the housekeeper, the maid, and the groundskeeper. As for Lenora, she's partially paralyzed from a series of strokes, can't walk, can't speak, and can only move her left hand. To communicate, she taps once for no, twice for yes. But she can also tap out sentences on her typewriter. Kit finds Lenora secretive and hard to read. She's also very curious to know the truth about what really happened. So when Lenora types out the message: i want to tell you everything, Kit gets quickly drawn into Lenora's past and all the hidden secrets surrounding the murders of her family. And she starts to wonder if Lenora didn't kill her family, who did?
My thoughts: I love a thriller with an unexpected twist in it, but sometimes a book can have too many of them. And then they just muddle the story line and ruin the suspense. Like in this book. There's not just one plot twist at the end, there's three. And the first one completely flips the narrative. I felt that it made the big reveal about the truth of the Hope murders that followed it convoluted and confusing. The second big twist involved Kit and felt way too coincidental and unbelievable; and the very last twist not only felt tacked on and unnecessary, but completely implausible. Which was too bad, because I was enjoying the book up until then. It's compelling, and the setting is atmospheric. And even though I didn't really love any of the characters, I was still liking the book. But all those twists at the end, one right after the other, left me feeling nonplussed and dissatisfied. I just couldn't buy into them all. So while I normally love Riley Sager's novels, I found this one disappointing and less than stellar.