Cari Moses
by Judith Tyler Hills

"He was going to kill her, she felt certain of that. Her only hope now was that it would all be over soon."

Multiple lives intertwine engagingly in this ambitious novel. Part psychological study, part crime thriller, and part sociological examination of a deteriorating society, this chronicle of individuals forever changed by circumstance and decision-making is a long walk through the corridors of despair, occasionally brightened by moments of promise, yet inexorably marching toward inescapable fate.

Set in contemporary England, the inhabitants of the author's literary landscape are characters immersed in conflicts both physical and emotional. There is a young couple whose marriage is falling apart after numerous miscarriages. A family of four's proper existence on the outside is becoming a tattered and torn chronicle of apathy, neglect, deceit, and violence on the inside. A gay couple's union that started so well is beginning to fray badly. A young woman forced to suffer innumerable indignities as a child is living a homeless life of panhandling and occasional prostitution to have enough to eat. These lives and more are all tangentially connected to an ongoing spate of gruesome serial killings of pregnant women.

Author Hills has constructed her narrative by leapfrogging from one character to the next in chapter after chapter. While copiously detailing her players' backstories, she initially chooses to provide only enough information to tease readers about the ultimate roles they might play. The more one reads, the more one learns. Hills is a full-throated writer filling her sentences and paragraphs with adjectives and adverbs that add feeling, nuance, enlightenment, and occasionally excess. Still, her main plot and its tributaries are compelling, and the diversity of people who populate her pages elicit empathy or derision appropriately. Her tale is quite likely to be remembered long after the last page has been read.

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