Window of Guilt by Jennie Spallone

Window of Guilt by Jennie Spallone
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (194 Pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by Cyclamen

Chicago real estate agent Laurie Atkins is gardening beneath the relentless August sun when her dog’s frantic barks divert her to a dead body sprawled on the front acreage of her Wisconsin summer home. She rushes inside to phone the police, but the body disappears. Laurie begins to doubt her own sanity. Then the unidentified body turns up on the driveway of Helga Beckermann, her devious neighbor.

When her emotionally withdrawn husband skips town on the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Laurie uncovers truths she’d rather deny. Her family in peril, Laurie enlists the help of two women she thinks she can trust: former Chicago Tribune investigative reporter Mitzy Maven, and tough-talking CPD detective Maggie O’Connor.

Laurie Atkins finds a body in her front yard, but then the body disappears and no one seems willing to believe her. Then the body turns up in her neighbor’s driveway, but no one can identify it. This is a mystery with enough twists and turns to keep everyone guessing. There are secrets piled on top of secrets. There are multiple characters with the same initials. Nothing makes sense until the very end of the story.

Jennie Spallone has written an intriguing and mystifying plot involving a lot of very different characters, many of whom are lying and withholding information. The plot moves between Wisconsin and Chicago, and it is told from many different perspectives, with jumps forward and backwards in time. The multiple perspectives do provide the reader with a lot of information, which is helpful, but occasionally the point of view gets broken and multiple perspectives operate in the same scene. There are also some minor inconsistencies in the details. For example, twice the author says that Laurie Atkins has been married for ten years and twice she says Laurie has been married for thirteen years. The length of the marriage is not significant, but possibly another round of editing would help to fix the minor glitches in details and point of view.

However, the plot is engaging and while I would have liked to have seen more depth to the characters, overall, it hangs together well and I was eager to discover how it would all work out. It is also refreshing to have a mystery novel with very little violence. And it is fun to have a real estate agent solving the mystery.

Mystery fans seeking a plot with plenty of twists and turns, along with a slew of secrets, will enjoy unraveling the story behind the mystery man’s corpse.

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