Lowe: Hard to stay connected through slow-moving story

  • Sep. 15, 2017 9:11 p.m.

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka


Published by Simon &Schuster, August 1/17

Jefferson High School student Lucinda Hayes is found murdered at a public playground in the middle of the night, leaving most of her fellow students quite shocked and sadden. None had a physical reaction to the news unlike Cameron Whitley, however, the boy who was obsessively in love with Lucinda. When he was only twelve, Cameron begun playing “Statue Nights” — also known as stalking. Just watching and observing people from inside their homes while being still as a statue, that’s basically how the game works. It didn’t take long for Lucinda to fall into his range.

Then there’s Jade Dixon-Burns who straight up hated Lucinda and doesn’t even bother hiding it. Lucinda stole her babysitting job but most importantly she stole Jade’s best friend. Also, Jade just despises the fact that Lucinda didn’t seem to notice who she hurts — it doesn’t help that the two have known each other since they were kids. Jade often says whatever pops into her head. She feels like she can’t even fake sadness over Lucinda’s death.

Detective Russ Fletcher is an officer with a sketchy past who is investigating the death of Lucinda Hayes. He’s been hearing rumors about Cameron Whitley and how he liked to follow and watch Lucinda. He has another connection to Cameron Whitley. The detective made a promise to someone years ago, a promise he intends on keeping.

We learn more about the inner lives of these three characters. There are quite a few people who may have had reason to kill Lucinda. Was it Cameron, who liked to watch her and can’t remember where he was when she was killed? Or Jade who so deeply despised Lucinda? Or could it be someone else? Remember — there’s a fine line between love and obsession.

While the mystery surrounding Lucinda’s death was intriguing, I didn’t feel connected to Lucinda herself, only as the victim of this horrible crime. It felt like more of a character study than a mystery or thriller. Quite slow at times, I found myself having trouble staying connected to the story. I couldn’t help but question why it was important for us to learn Russ’ back story and all. Besides Lucinda he was another character I couldn’t quite connect to. It felt like there was quite a bit of extra writing for a character whose purpose I didn’t really understand.

Kirsten Lowe studies at Athabasca University.

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