Title: What Jennifer Saw
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Author: Hal Schweig
Genre: Thriller & Mystery
★ ☆ ~ 2 Stars
Jim Harris, a wealthy businessman and philanthropist, and his wife, Mary Beth, along with their four beautiful children, are beloved as the “Jack and Jackie” of Monroeville, Missouri, a small town which considers itself “The Camelot of the Midwest.” The murder of Jim Harris in time reveals the moral decay festering beneath this family’s golden surface. Following the murder of her husband, Mary Beth Harris has metamorphosed suspiciously from a mousy hausfrau doting on her family to a newly energized vamp hurrying to a secret rendezvous with a mysterious lover. Her 24-year-old son later discovers a letter from her paramour, written shortly before his father’s murder, and begins to agonize over the unthinkable. Self-absorbed, Mary Beth fails to recognize the desperate plight of her 15-year-old daughter, the ethereal Jennifer, who witnessed her father’s murder, but is suffering post traumatic stress syndrome and cannot recall it. A brilliant but maverick psychiatrist, Dr. Timothy Adler, wrestling demons of his own, is brought in to treat her and discovers she is also in the grip of Multiple Personality Disorder. He gambles everything on one high-risk roll of the dice to decipher her psyche, which harbors a grotesque melange of angry “personas,” one of whom holds the key to the identity of the killer and also possesses shocking knowledge about the murder victim as well. Dr. Adler knows that his battle against the cunning and malevolent alter egos who wish to possess Jennifer’s soul must be successful, or else she may rapidly descend into madness and even death.”
Gruesome suspense. This book had me wanting to skip scenes. Now.. Don’t get me wrong, I love suspense, murder mysteries, but this one had me cringing, and of course these incidents could very well happen in the real world, but… well, just continue.
I thought it would be a pretty normal murder mystery, but it came to be this gruesome tale about every flawed character in the book: Jennifer having a mental health issues, the detective’s abuse, the mother who seems to be whore, etc. There was also a lot of scenes in the book that would make anyone’s stomach turned, take Gone Girl and up the notch about 3x.
At the beginning of the book, I felt there was lot of useless information, we just didn’t need to know every detail to get to the know the characters, for example: he went down 7 carpeted steps. Why is it we have to know this detail? Also, the rape scenes, child abuse, oh my goodness I could go on and on. This book would have been a wonderful read if it was just a normal suspense murder mystery, take out all the junk (all the flawed characters), and build rounded characters, and characters who had backbones.
I personally have never dealt with multiple-personality disorders, but it seems the book would have been great with just that one thing, Built around Jennifer, and do not give too many characters too many things that go wrong. To be honest I got lost through most of it, and started skipping scenes or pages, because it just felt forced or out of place.
Who knows, maybe I am just a contemporary romance type of girl or some cozy mystery.
If you like murder mystery, gruesome, child abuse, rape, etc.. maybe you would like this book. As for me and myself, I will pass it along to someone who will enjoy it more than I did.
About the Author
Hal Schweig is happy to report that his debut novel, What Jennifer Saw, a psychological murder mystery, was published by Black Rose Writing on November 7, 2013.