Friday, March 21, 2014

"I Came to Say Goodbye" by Caroline Overington

When I was doing the Aussie Author Challenge and Australian Literature Month last year I discovered Caroline Overington's books. The first one I read, "Sisters of Mercy" still haunts me at times. While "I Came to Say Goodbye" was also a page-turner, I think "Sisters of Mercy" is a more complex and chilling story.

I'm beginning to notice a bit of a theme running through Caroline Overington's books though...she is very good at depicting realistic characters on the fringe of society; often mentally ill or intellectually challenged, living pretty sad lives, possibly failed to be cared for adequately by society, who are caught up in horrific crimes (as victims or perpetrators or both). I think part of the chilling aspect often comes from the fact that the person who commits the crime often seems to be without remorse or even without the ability to see what they have done is wrong, and sometimes even think they are in the right. Lots of small pieces come together to tragic effect, sometimes making the reader consider the systems in place in society and whether they could have been effective at preventing the crime if different action was taken earlier. Caroline often tells her stories from an interesting angle or side character rather than from the character in the centre of the novel, in this case, most of the story is told from the perspective of the grandfather of a missing child, who is writing down a statement for a court hearing of events leading up to the crime.
"I Came to Say Goodbye" starts with a situation caught on CCTV footage which appears to involve a woman brazenly walking into a hospital and placing a young baby from the maternity ward in a green Woolies shopping bag and simply walking back out of the hospital and driving away with the baby.  Then the story jumps forward in time to the grandfather of the kidnapped child, who provides all the background story, revealing what could have happened to someone in order for them to do such a thing. Unlike "Sisters of Mercy" which was criticised by some reviewers for having an ambiguous ending, "I came to say goodbye" has a clear ending, even if it is pretty heart-breaking.

Started reading on my kindle: 21st March 2014
Finished: 22nd March 2014
My score: 7/10
Aussie Author Challenge Stats: Female author; Genre: crime

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