Sheila's teaching assistant, Ethan Wolfe, pursued Sheila for months before seducing her into a steamy relationship. When Sheila breaks off the affair after her boyfriend, wealthy investment banker Morris Gardener, proposes, Ethan becomes obsessive and jealous, threatening to blow her engagement - and her career - out the water by releasing revealing photos from their trysts. He also dons a disguise and brazenly has an "interview" for a job with Morris at his company.
The other story is of Emile's teenage daughter, Catherine. From the start of her part of the book, she confesses to killing another teenager. Cat's tale begins a couple of years after her father's death, and she and her mother are still dealing with their loss. To make matters more miserable, although Cat is smart, she is also plain-looking, not popular, and awkward. When the rich and popular Nicolette befriends her, Cat finds herself caught by a force beyond her naive understanding. Of course, it is Nic whom Cat has killed. It takes the rest of the book to learn (sort of) why Cat killed Nic.
I suppose the danger with books that are two stories in one -- and so many of today's books are -- is that the reader might like one of the stories much more than the other. And I'm sorry to say that I enjoyed the WWII story a lot more. It's hard-hearted but I couldn't really maintain an interest in Cat's plight. She was a tough character to like and understand, as well.
S.J. Rozan, now 11 books in to her series alternating between the voices of Lydia Chin and Bill Smith, gives us a Lydia entry, a fast paced novel set in the high stakes Manhattan art scene. With a Rozan novel, you always learn a bit along with a great story. In this one, you get to learn a bit about Chinese art and Chinese dissidents. The "Ghost Hero" of the title refers to an artist who died in the Tieneman Square uprising, and what’s got the art world all abuzz is the idea that the ghost hero, Chau, is still alive and creating new work. Someone has hired Lydia and Bill to look into it, and, it turns out, someone else has hired another investigator, Jack Lee, for the same purpose.
Rozan is a past master at taking an incredibly complicated plot but making it seem – to the reader – not complicated, thanks to her clear and concise style of writing. She is able to convey both emotion and humor in a very compact manner, a manner that feels like a particularly American style of writing. As the plot develops, Lydia and Bill join forces with Jack Lee, even to the point of meeting his client (who had demanded absolute confidentiality). Jack’s client is annoyed and goes so far as to fire Jack, but as he’s been shot at in the line of duty, he sticks with the case, and Lydia sticks with her own mystery client and his much smaller retainer.
As the story proceeds Rozan sketches in the details of the Manhattan gallery world with memorable aplomb, and there are certain characters that are difficult to forget. The most memorable, though, might be Bill’s impression of a wealthy Russian collector with lots of "bling." Lydia literally has to look away.
With alternating scenes of humor and action Rozan advances her story, and as a reader you become more and more invested in wanting to find out exactly what happened to Ghost hero Chau. She’s such a good writer she keeps you guessing, and like only the very best writers, the true story isn’t revealed until the very last paragraph. It was an unexpected development, but not one she hadn’t laid the groundwork for.
Willow, a recent transplant to The Hollows, a small town outside of New York City, tries to act tough, but when she sees a man digging up a body in the woods, she drops her cell phone and runs for home. The digger brings the phone back to her. He introduces himself to her mother,who is intrigued by his story. He has been searching for his mother, who disappeared many years ago, and has hired a retired detective and a psychic to learn her fate. The psychic "sees" a man jumping into a river to rescue someone and is, himself, drowning. That man, Jones Cooper, suffers from the events of the previous year, in which he admitted his role in a crime and resigned as Chef of Police. Nonetheless, he is drawn in, compelled to solve the mystery. As he does, we are introduced to a variety of characters and, as readers, treated to a story that builds in tension to a terrifying climax.
When a female student is found drowned in a nearby river, secrets begin to emerge. Rumors of a college society known as The Sixes trouble Phoebe, who had met the murdered coed. Obsessed with solving the murder, she examines possible links between the dead girl and The Sixes, as well as other unsolved crimes. Suspects abound, and in the process of narrowing the field, Phoebe experiences, for the second time in her life, the terror of being the target of hostility on a small campus.
The Sixes is a suspenseful fast-paced mystery, with the added fillip of romantic interest. What's more, Kate White treats us to a dynamic character in Phoebe, one who learns and changes as she solves the mystery. The Sixes demonstrates Kate White's skill as a mystery writer. On a final note, The Sixes gave me the vicarious experience of life on a small town college campus. It left me grateful that I attended a commuter college, and eager to read more of Kate White's books.