If you like: murder * geocaching * determination
In Five, Beatrice is a detective investigating a strange murder, when she discovers a mysterious set of clues. Little by little, she begins to understand the meaning behind the small details that were left behind. The more she learns, the more she becomes entrenched in the case. Beatrice is a woman driven by her past, her instincts, and her pride. She cannot let the case go, or any detail escape her. By entirely enveloping herself in the path the murderer has lead her down, she comes ever closer to solving the crime and endangering herself.
No police investigation is complete without a detective who puts her work above everything else, to the determent of the rest of his or her life. Beatrice is no different, but the stakes of being a working woman are all the higher. Beatrice is all too aware that traits that often yield accolades for men are viewed negatively for a woman. Thus, she not only has to be the best at what she does, she also has to combat the disappointment of everyone in her life. Her family wishes her to be a more attentive mother. Her ex-husband wished her to be a different kind of wife. Her boss is willing to subjugate every achievement to the most minor of offenses. Beatrice does not let that get in the way of her attentive skill. She may have self-doubt, but she also knows that she will be the one to solve the case. Isolation is especially dangerous for a detective involved in a difficult case. When you have cut yourself off from most people in your life, it is all too easy to get sucked into the case to a dangerous level. Beatrice is not alone, however. She has the support of her coworkers who recognize her cognitive capacities for the gift they are. Her coworkers give her room to think and work, but they always have her back.
Left unchecked, grief can contort even the most innocuous of people into a bitter hull of their former selves. Beatrice’s past is fraught with grief. Though it could have overtaken her, she was able to ride the wave as it washed over her and use it to shape her future into a life doing good work. Other people aren’t so lucky. When tragedy strikes, some people are forced to walk away from everything that serves as a reminder, never to look back. Others try to act as though nothing has changed, while in reality everything has. Some embrace the grief and let it shape their personality until they become someone their family wouldn’t recognize. They become a recluse, or hysteric. A detective is often in the middle of the cloud of grief that hasn’t yet become rain or begun to disperse. Learning to navigate around the pain is a key to being able to sort through all the details and find the truth. At the same time, the dead are often elevated to heights beyond what they may have achieved in life. The truth in life and the truth in death can be two completely different things. Tracing the activities and personality of someone being lauded as unerring can be especially difficult during a contentious case. All of these elements come together to make Five a compelling story of suspense and murder.
If you are just beginning to piece the clues together, read Five.
Archer, Ursula. Five: A Novel. St. Martin's Press, 2014. Kindle Edition.