The sins of the fathers

Haze by Rachel Crunden

r/suggestmeabook: I want a contemporary thriller with a young couple trying to overcome their past tragedies.

Movie rating: R

Pages: 267

Publisher: Self

From the publisher: When Eliza Owens gets a phone call in the middle of the night from a girl she’s never met, she doesn’t know what to think. The girl introduces herself as Paige, and says she used to date Erik Stern, Eliza’s fiancé. What’s more, she has something important to discuss. The only problem? Paige has been dead for years.

This absorbing thriller spools off one tragedy after anther before it settles in to solve the mysteries behind them. Rebecca Crunden does a great job of sketching characters quickly so that you become invested early. I was debating whether to call this YA, and after chatting with mavens, will say it’s “adult with YA crossover appeal.”*

The dead don’t care if you’re religious.

Rebecca Crunden, Haze

Eliza and Erik are the protagonists, and they both have demons aplenty. How they deal with them (not well, for the most part) is a large part of the story. Erik wins the worst dad contest, but Eliza’s, although more likable, becomes problematic. Be prepared to read about various addictions, and, if you’ve had panic attacks, you’ll know that Crunden’s descriptions are so good that they almost provoke one.

We talk shit. We talk about Eliza, we talk about this ghost, we talk about the past and the present. We don’t ever talk about you.

Rebecca Crunden, Haze

The pace is rapid enough that it’s easy to overlook that there’s not as much background and development that I usually prefer. My biggest gripe was the ending, which suffers from the Lord of the Rings syndrome: it felt like multiple endings, rather than one. I think it would have been more satisfying to skip the last chapter and go straight to the epilogue; I’d say more, but I don’t want to give anything away.

One of the greatest conspiracies of life is the how and why of the tax system. Right up there with cauliflower and the purpose of wisdom teeth.

Rebecca Crunden, Haze

I don’t read enough thrillers to venture many other comments, but for someone who doesn’t generally gravitate toward them, this was a fun ride.

*Thanks to Fabienne and Eriophora for the genre classification assist, although they should be absolved for any error on my part. Check out their websites for more YA and other goodies.

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