Saturday, May 4, 2013

Book Review: The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes

The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes
Release Date: 9th April 2013
Publisher: Penguin Books
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 580
Rating: 4.5/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 ODY and 2013 GVR

Summary from Amazon:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"As the youngest of the five Walsh girls, Helen has had a tough time finding her way in the world—at thirty-three, she has her job as a private investigator that has proven less than fruitful and after losing her flat, she’s moved back in with Mammy Walsh. Her hunky new boyfriend, Artie, and his three adorable children are a great distraction, but his beautiful ex-wife lives a little too close for comfort. Meanwhile, Helen runs into her ex-boyfriend Jay Parker and reluctantly signs on to help him locate Wayne Diffney, the recently disappeared fourth member of Ireland’s biggest mid-nineties boy band, Laddz. Of the five Laddz, the Talented One has long gone on to better things, but the Cute One, the Gay One, and the Other One are all busily shunning carbs and rehearsing their reunion tour, and it’s Helen’s job to track down Wayne, the Wacky One. Wayne hasn’t left a trace, and Helen throws herself into the search wholeheartedly, leaving no stone unturned while watching her own life slowly fall apart, one unpaid bill at a time."

I love Marian Keyes' novels. Quite a few years ago I bought my first Marian Keyes novel, Anybody out There?, and ever since then I've sought out and read all of her novels. So, when I saw that a new novel was being released, I preorded it on The Book Depository and read it pretty much as soon as it got here. And, just as I suspected, I quite enjoyed it. 

The novel centres on Helen Walsh, a 30-something private investigator who's pretty much hit rock bottom. She struggling for work, but then her ex swoops in and offers her a job to find a missing person, Wayne Diffney. So, over the next 4 or so days, she splits her time between searching for Wayne, spending time with her boyfriend and dealing with her family. I have to say, at first I didn't particularly like Helen - she just seemed snarky and annoying to me. But, as a read further and found out more about her and her back story, I did come to like her. I also enjoyed the reappearance of the Walsh family, who Keyes has centred many of her novels on (each of Helen's 4 sisters have a novel centred around them). 

I like how Keyes tackles big issues in some of her novels. One of my all time faves, Rachel's Holiday, deals with drug addiction and the rehabilitation process. In this novel, we dealt with depression. I liked how Keyes developed Helen's problem, and I thought that the picture she painted of a depressed person was pretty well done. Helen wasn't the stereotypical depressed person, the sort of person who doesn't do anything and stays in bed all day. She worked well and efficiently at her job, she interacted with her family and was getting along well with her boyfriend. Helen was struggling with some big problems, but from the outset, if you didn't know her you probably wouldn't think that she was depressed.

I also liked the mystery aspect of the novel. I honestly didn't know where Wayne was until it was revealed in the novel, and that very rarely happens to me. Some novels these days can be quite predictable in their story lines, and in mystery novels I tend to find that I can predict the endings fairly well. But with this one, I had absolutely no idea. Maybe that's why I loved the ending so much - not only did it fit in quite well with Helen's main storyline, but it surprised me.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but I had no doubt when I picked it up that I would. I love that Keyes can write fun and entertaining novels that also deal with big issues - they've got a bit of everything really. Her novels really are great, I couldn't recommend them enough. 

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