Lay Death at Her Door by Elizabeth Buhmann © 2013 Red Adept
I saw a great premise when I read the Publishers Weekly capsule on this one—a woman falsely accused a man of rape and murder, and now, after 20 years in prison, he’s been cleared by DNA evidence and is freed! Oh, this was going to lead to one hell of a confrontation!
Nope, the main character, Kate, and the man she falsely convicted never meet. Instead, the story centers on self-centered, thirty-something, Kate, and her overbearing father-figure, “Pop.” They live secluded, dull lives in Virginia, which the reader suffers for many, many pages. Kate tries to have a relationship with a married man, but then changes her mind and totally screws up his life—a side plot that means nothing and only makes the reader hate her more. Then she hires a private detective/lawyer to help her divorce a one-time-fling husband she supposedly hasn’t seen in years, a jarring plot diversion which makes no sense and makes obvious Pop’s identity and the reason for Kate falsely testifying against that poor bastard 20 years ago. Thus, a yawn when the “secrets” are finally revealed.
Mind-boggling-est of all was Kate and Pop’s history as black marketers in Kenya. What did that have to do with a steal-the-family-inheritance con game in Virginia? It would have been more believable if Buhmann had them off the real Pop in their own back yard.
In the end, conniving Kate gets what she deserves, but who cares? The one only character you feel for in the whole story is the falsely convicted guy, and you never even meet him. I’m laying Death in my recycling bin.