“The Love Lies Bleeding of the title is a plant which provides a clue to a 70 years old mystery. Make no mistake, Laini Giles has crafted an out-of-the-ordinary police procedural here. I couldn’t tell till right near the end what exactly had happened, but I knew early on the significance of the button hook tossed into the grave with the bloody corpse.
Senior Investigator Frank Conley solves the mystery of the 70 years old skeleton, discovered by a hiker. The puzzle strikes close to home – within his own family – and as he struggles with his own problems he manages to piece together what probably happened all those years ago. ‘Probably’ often has to suffice because most of those concerned are dead.
There is a ticking clock in the background, but it is not as overtly crude as in others of this genre. There’s urgency but it has to be married with the slow moving actions of a small town.
There are a lot of layers in this book, paricularly when it comes to characterization. Nobody is what they seem. LLB has been well crafted and in spite of the laid-back smalltown feel, it is not in the least unsophisticated.
Well done, Ms Giles.”
Perfectly healthy people almost never die suddenly unless something terrible happens to them. Can a 70 year old skeleton provide enough clues to finally solve the mystery of what happened to a privileged young woman who disappeared in 1916?
Imagine discovering human remains while on a long hike. As soon as I read the heartbreaking description of the skeleton that is discovered in the opening scene I couldn’t wait to find out how the victim died and why she came to be buried in a such a lonely place. My curiosity bubbled over when one of the investigators realizes the deceased is related to him. This detail added a sense of urgency to the plot and gave me sympathy for certain decisions Frank makes later on in the course of his investigation that otherwise could be construed as insensitive.
Despite the fact that they never knew one another I noticed striking personality similarities between Libbie and Frank that I wish the author would have explored in greater detail. Both characters are good looking, intelligent, and charming, but they also tend to be self-absorbed and indifferent to the emotional pain they cause others. Frank begins to show signs of self-awareness as the plot progresses, but realizing how much he has in common with his long-dead aunt would have provided an excellent opportunity for further character development.
What I liked most about this novel was how seamlessly the plot jumped between the last few months of Libbie’s life in 1916 and the investigation of what really happened to her 70 years later. Both time periods provide vital clues about Libbie’s fate and even though they both discuss the same events I was always intrigued by the subtle differences between the memories of the witnesses and what actually occurred.
Love Lies Bleeding kept me guessing until the end. This is a great choice for anyone who likes richly detailed historical mysteries set in the beginning of the 20th century.
Love Lies Bleeding has a unique premise: investigator Frank Conley is called to the scene of the unearthed remains of a woman he discovers is the aunt who disappeared seventy years before. The story follows his investigation as he’s determined to find out what really happened on this very cold case. He has a personal interest, a mystery to solve, and his own demons to work through. The action cuts from the present–Ithaca, New York in the year 1986–to Ithaca, 1916 in the months preceding his aunt’s disappearance.
I found myself immersed in the story of Frank’s Aunt Libbie. The attention to detail was phenomenal with Giles providing vivid images. (I even learned a few things.) This book kept me up until two in the morning as I was determined to finish it and find the answers. It’s a page turner, which good mysteries usually are. Highly recommended.
I was skeptical about the premise: could a decades old murder hold the reader’s interest? Wouldn’t the culprit be deceased at this point? If so, what’s the relevance? Let me assure you, Ms. Giles does just fine getting the reader involved in this mystery. Yes, it is imperative this case be solved – for reasons far beyond criminal justice! A thoroughly enjoyable read with a surprise ending!