Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Gone to Ground

Gone to Ground
By Brandilyn Collins
B and H Books March 2012
321 pages
From my shelves

Gone to Ground: A Novel

The small southern town of Amaryllis has been rocked by a series of murders. Older women living by themselves are stabbed once and left in their closets. No one is able to figure out who the murderer is, or the connection between the victims, even with the publicity of a Pulitzer prize winning series of articles that focus on the murders. Three very different women come across evidence that makes them suspect the murderer is someone they know. But which one is right?

Brandilyn Collins is the author of many thrillers and her pacing is excellent. The mystery moves quickly, with lots of uncertainty. There are three possible killers and each woman uncovers something that makes her believe that her husband, her boss, or her brother is the murderer. Collins switches perspective from one woman to the other and each time you are convinced that you know who the killer is, you realize that it must be someone else instead. 

That being said, I was disappointed in the characters. Our heroines are Cherrie Mae, an older black maid; Tully, a young wife who is very pregnant with her first child; and Deena, a hairdresser who cares for her handicapped brother. Honestly, I wanted more original characters. Must every novel set in the South deal with a sassy black maid and a poor white pregnant girl in an abusive relationship? That is not to say that these are not well-developed characters. They are fully realized by the author; I just wished they didn't feel like characters I had encountered a hundred times before.

I was also put off by Ms. Collins' attempt at replicating a Southern accent. She writes the women's speech as non-regionalized with the exception of a few chosen words. She is fond of having Cherrie Mae talk about "closing the doh" and "calling the police." It would have made more sense to fully commit to Southern accents for all of the women throughout their speech or to have no accent at all.

I enjoyed the main theme of this book, which was women working together. Although Cherrie Mae, Tully, and Deena hardly knew each other before the murders, they form an instant bond when it becomes apparent that they each suspect something or someone. It's refreshing to find female characters who are able to stand up for themselves and each other in times of crisis instead of being saved by a dashing male hero.

Gone to Ground is a taut mystery story that will leave you changing your mind about the killer from chapter to chapter. While the characters would benefit from some originality, you will find yourself rooting for them as you race through the pages to find out who is terrorizing their small town. 


  1. I'm just getting into thrillers, I've never really read them before this year. I think I will steer clear of this one as the character issues would bug me. Any great thriller recommendations?

    1. I like to read one once in a while. I think if I read them often, I would never sleep!
      I really liked The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn. My review was up in June of this year if you want to give it a look. :)

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