** Naive cliché
I should say that the review contains some spoilers, but in fact the plot is so obvious that I don’t think it’s necessary.
Let’s start with the few positive aspects of this novel.
The prose is definitely beautiful and clean. The author is very good in managing the point of view of the protagonist and overall the text compels you to a quick read, though I must confess that I was in a hurry to finish it just to get rid of it as soon as possible.
But despite the excellent technical skills, the story is just a naive cliché.
The useless prologue makes it clear immediately how the story will be developed and how it will end: it anticipates the child’s death (which then actually occurs at about 80% of the novel), shows that she is alone and that there is something strange regarding her husband.
Everything else is clarified in the first chapters.
Jenny, the main character, is absolutely non-credible. Whenever does it happen that a single mother, divorced, so experienced, in New York (not in the smallest village), immediately trusts the first guy who shows interest on her? Indeed, she should doubt this sudden interest. He proposes to her after a week! Any woman would run like hell and someone like her, who has two daughters, faster than any other. This lack of credibility makes her annoying because of her excessive stupidity, weakness, and total lack of temper.
The fact that the story is set in the 80s can justify the plot being overworn (at the time it wasn’t so overworn), but not its poor development and two-dimensional characters.
He looks sinister since the beginning. After reading the prologue, it is natural to question him immediately, all the more because of his way of being intrusive and overbearing with a woman he just met and of whom he is interested because she is almost identical to his dead mother, another reason why any sane person would immediately run away from him.
The author attempts to confuse the facts and make you doubt the protagonist fail miserably. Not once she has managed to divert me from the conviction, gained from the first moment I met Erich in the first chapter, that there was something wrong with him, that he was the cause of everything. The late inclusion of elements of doubt seems like clutching at straws and the tendency of the protagonist to give credit to them makes her appear even more stupid and weak.
The ending is predictable. How do you think a story like this would end? Come on!
The veiled (but not too much) reference to Psycho must have made Hitchcock turn in his grave.
It was the first time I read a book by Higgins Clark and, no doubt, it will be the last.
A Cry in the Night on Amazon.