The Girl In The Dark was a thriller by an author living in the Netherlands. This was a quick read that alternated chapters between Ray, and convict with mental issues, and Iris, a single mom who was a lawyer. As the story progressed, Ray recounted the relationship with a neighbor that landed him in jail for her murder and the murder of her young daughter.
This was not a taught psychological thriller, although Ray was an odd character whose narration was questionable. The story really took too long to develop. From the cover, this was described as a book about a sister trying to prove her brother’s innocence. But it took close to 100 pages for Iris to even realize she had a brother. Then, her efforts to help him were minimal. This book seemed focused on getting to the ending, which I imagined the author hoped would be a surprised. It wasn’t. I thought the identity of the actual killer was obvious, so I was looking forward more toward Iris’s journey discovering the killer. I liked Iris, but her story was overshadowed by her being a stressed out single mom while trying to balance her legal career while getting yelled at by her client and shamed by the day care aid. She didn’t do much to help investigate Ray’s case, and was more interested in why her mother kept his existence a secret from her.
Maybe this didn’t connect with me because Ray was so weird. Even though I love French pastries, his perseveration on crust and stale bread was too much for me to get into. I also got a little sick of his fascination with the fish tank. At the same time, those things helped show how odd he was and how that social awkwardness made him a victim of the criminal justice system. Once inside prison, Ray was shunned and made fun of just like he was on the outside. All those things made Ray a tragic character. The ending to his story was probably the best thing about this book.
This goes into the pile of books I hoped would be better than it turned out to be.