Review of “Escaping Life”, by Michelle Muckley

In the sleepy little village of Haven, there isn’t a lot to do on a Sunday morning.  Loll in the back garden, sip tea, and read the paper.  To Elizabeth Green, the announcements section is always the best part of  the daily news.

Births, graduations, wedding announcements…

letters from your sister, who died four years ago???

If that isn’t something to get the adrenaline going on a summer morning!

Somehow, though, Elizabeth isn’t overly surprised.  After all, no one had ever found Rebecca’s body in that car crash.  But everyone else assumed it was so, and so it was.

But what is Rebecca’s warning about?  And why didn’t she come by in person?

Hopes are soaring, then are dashed, as Elizabeth’s husband finds a reference to a body found recently on a beach.  After a call to Detective Jack Fraser, of the Chesterwood P.D., it is verified that, this time, Rebecca is surely and certainly dead–and by her own hand.  She leaves clues beside her body, and it is up to Elizabeth and Jack to figure out why Rebecca decided to escape life this way.

Detective Fraser has escapes of his own to deal with, on a personal basis.  His own wife and child died in a car crash, and he is still trying to find his way through his grief.  Relationships come and go as he tries to reconcile his past with both the present and his future.

Rebecca and Detective Fraser–both victims of trauma, both trying to find a way out of the pain.  But they are not alone.  Elizabeth is also trying to escape life–or at least the memories of the cruel and horrible way her mother died, and how her world and family came apart.

The cases of Rebecca’s death, and that of her mother, are solved in a most dramatic way, and the survivors learn something very important–in cases like this, where escape is longed for, it is best not to go it alone.

Fantastic book!  It starts with the first page, where Ms. Muckley writes:  “…dedicated to those who chose to escape”.  Once you read the book, you will understand.

Written with the skill she has shown in her other books, the story is woven seamlessly, and the plot is constant and holds the interest throughout.  At times it seems as if Elizabeth and Jack might become more than just detective and client, but it turns out even better than that.  As with all good “whodunit”s, the cause of the crises between the sisters, that starts with the murder of their mother, is never known til the end.

The descriptives are so good–I really wanted to spend a weekend in Haven (and what a good name for a town in a book with the title “Escaping Life”).  And I wanted to avoid Chesterwood like the plague!

I highly recommend this book, and I certainly hope Ms. Muckley is still creating more stories for her audience.




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