I have read a number of Chris Bohjalian’s books, and yesterday I read his latest, “The Secrets of Eden”.
As is often the case, the setting is small town New England, there is a murder (in this case, a double murder), there is a disappearance, and there is a question as to who committed the crime. An abusive husband and an abused wife are found dead in their house, she strangled and he shot. It seems an open and shut case – a murder suicide.
But nothing in a novel is open and shut, so you have to factor in the local Baptist pastor, the couple’s 15 year old daughter, the dead woman’s best friend, and a well known author, whose parents died years earlier under very similar circumstances and who appears in town immediately following the discovery of the bodies.
I thought this book to be rather light reading – 350 pages which I went through in 4-5 hours. I decided what happened about 2/3 through the book, and I was very close to being right on the mark, so I can’t say there was great suspense. The characters had the promise of being interesting (except for the writer, who struck me as very two dimensional), but were not fully enough developed.
If you want a quick read, or are looking for a book to take on an airplane, “The Secrets of Eden” will do the trick. But if you are looking for something that will be more than ephemeral, I’d look elsewhere.