Kudos to Jill Kelly for a novel offering unlimited suspense. From the start the suspense kept building and building leaving the reader to work at deciphering the culprit and piece together the others involvement in the crimes. Major twist was unexpected and certainly added to the potboiler narrative.
Although I enjoyed Fog of Dead Souls there are a few areas I felt were an asset and other areas I felt a liability.
Refreshing to have the main protagonist to be of a ‘mature’ age. Ellie McKay is 60 with intellect and composure. She is a woman of independence and has lived life. Aware of her flaws, you gather she likes the woman she is. A fighter, she is determined to recapture what has been taken away from her, as well as a refusal to live a life of fear. She wears her scars well from her torture and you breathe a sigh of relief as we read of her accepting her body after her brutal attack. Ellie is tough and wants normalcy as much as her challenges and herself will permit.
Where I find myself completely confused is Ellie’s behavior post attack. Her behavior contradicts what Kelly has established of Ellie’s nature from the start, plus I find her conduct implausible. I am NOT an expert regarding trauma, torture or rape so maybe, just maybe Ellie’s demeanor is normal, but as a woman and given what she’s been through I don’t buy it and it takes away from the entire story – at least for me.
I can’t believe a woman such as Ellie after suffering a brutal rape, torture, not knowing the role her boyfriend played, given she was drugged and has zero recollection would partake in random one night stands or familiar and new intimate behavior. Given her age and smarts alone I would think sex and men would be avoided at all costs. Her trust is admittedly gone. Sexual activity albeit under the influence of alcohol would leave you even more vulnerable and prey to an unknown stranger. Ellie states she doesn’t want to be alone, I understand but I can’t grasp the need for male company after being raped, just doesn’t compute. The only excuse I can offer to ease my mind is Ellie is so traumatized she is failing to make rational decisions, fingers crossed this is the core of her unexplainable behavior.
Also, Ellie is a self proclaimed bachelorette and yet she marries Al without knowing a stitch about him after meeting in a bar after days of ‘knowing’ each other, plus this happens post rape??? Huh???
I would have really loved this thriller if Ellie’s behavior wasn’t so unbelievable and was in alignment as to what Kelly already set the pattern for. Her choices killed the story for me.
No doubt Jill Kelly has an imagination and is very creative. She certainly knows how to write a novel with loads of tension. Despite my misgivings I am curious to read future writings from this very intriguing and renegade author. Debut effort definitely leaving the reader with much to consider.