I read an old review of this book from when it was released last year, where the reviewer pointed out that when Ann Rule wrote The Stranger Beside Me, about knowing and working with serial killer Ted Bundy before he was the Ted Bundy, Ann Rule could at least write from the position of having known Ted. Thinking he was just the affable, kind-hearted guy who worked with her at a crisis hotline.
Flook was stuck with a difficult assignment, having none of the access Rule or Capote had to their subjects. The Worthington family, old money in that part of Massachusetts, was completely closed to her. The District Attorney in charge of the investigation seemed more bent on getting in her pants, albeit in a rather subtle way. Tony Jackett, the married fisherman who fathered Christa's child, willingly talked, as did Tim Arnold, the children's book author - but by the time I finished this book I still felt as if I'd gotten nothing from that as well. Jackett was a portrait of narcissism, but a rather bland, macho narcissism that doesn't have any foreboding about it. He still seems like he has a bit too much conscience to have hurt Christa. Tim Arnold comes across as likable, but strange. Maybe even strange enough to be unpredictable. Maria Flook comes across as too flaky and intellectual - and not in the good way, but the distracted and academic, unreal and dreamy way - to do this mystery much justice.
What I was left with after closing this book was a poetic picture of wintry Cape Cod, the sea winds biting your skin, the darkness that lowers early in winter, icy and complete, thick with threats unseen. I was left with the empty sense of the mystery laying there unsolved, and by now, a year after the book's publication and two years after the murder, cold. Flook is apparently a poet as well, and that was the only writerly gift of hers that made this reading worthwhile in some way.