I read my first Jan Burke book over ten years ago and really enjoyed it. Yet, for some strange reason that I still can’t figure out, I never picked up any of her other books until a few months ago, when I read her short story anthology, Eighteen, which I loved so much that it inspired me to write a fresh batch of my own short stories.
I know Burke’s Irene Kelly series is wildly popular, but I’m fickle about series. You get attached. You make (imaginary) friends. Eventually the author takes the characters you know and love down a character arc you can’t forgive, and you lose a loved one. I no longer see the point in entering what is bound to be a tragic relationship doomed from the start.
Nine is one of Burke’s stand alone novels. It seems as though she feels that it’s important for the reader to really know the characters, to understand where they’re coming from and what their motivation is. That may have slowed the pacing in this book a bit. By the end of the book, it didn’t matter at all. If she had sped through the plot instead of building the slow and steady suspense that culminated in a big, breathless climax, it wouldn’t have been the same ride. (And this book is a ride.) 5 stars.