Tuesday, January 11, 2011

REVIEW: The Swimming Pool, by Holly LeCraw

The Swimming Pool, by Holly LeCraw. Published 2010 by Random House.

The Swimming Pool is just a really great read. Somewhere between a soap opera à la Melrose Place and an examination of modern family dysfunction, it's the story of Marcella Atkinson, a ravishing Italian beauty still desirable in her middle age and a murder shrouded in mystery. As a young woman she'd had an affair with Cecil McClatchey, a wealthy Southerner who vacationed in her Cape Cod town along with his family. One night Cecil's wife Betsy is killed, the killer never found. Now, years later, Betsy's murder haunts her fractured family; Marcella, divorced and mother to a beautiful, blossoming daughter of her own, embarks on a steamy affair with Cecil's son Jed, while her daughter takes a summer babysitting job for Jed's sister Callie, a troubled new mother.

But who murdered Betsy? It wasn't who I expected it to be, but I've heard so many readers say that already that I had a completely open mind when I read it. I know who I wanted it to be though! And what will happen when all of these volatile characters, with their secrets and their hidden agendas, collide like chemicals in a test tube? What will the fallout be? Who will precipitate it? Or will there even be an explosion? Will it just fizzle out like a broken firecracker?

You'll have to read to find out. The Swimming Pool will keep you gulping LeCraw's finely crafted prose like water. I had a great time reading this book. I finished it in about two days of voracious and obsessive page-turning. To me this book was a great, fun beach read- a well-written thriller/domestic drama with characters I believed in just enough, and whose sometimes outlandish behavior I was happy to forgive if only it meant I could spend more time in their messy, chaotic world. It's a tough book to classify exactly; it's not a trashy beach book by any stretch but there is something of the soap opera about their passions and scheming. It's going to appeal to lots of readers; it's a literary read that manages to be fun and light at the same time. Like I said, The Swimming Pool is a good time between the covers.

Come back tomorrow for my interview with author Holly LeCraw and a giveaway for you.

Rating: BUY

The Swimming Pool
by Holly LeCraw
I'm a Powell's partner and receive a small commission on sales.

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.