2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Tina has read 0 books toward her goal of 39 books.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

BOOK REVIEW for Gone at Midnight, The Mysterious Death of Elisa Lam by Jake Anderson

Thank you to the publisher - Citadel for sending me an electronic copy of this book to read and review.

TITLE:          Gone at Midnight, The Mysterious Death of Elisa Lam

AUTHOR:     Jake Anderson

GENRE:        True Creme

RATING:       2 stars

First off, everything involved with this case feels creepy to me, which is a feeling that persisted while I read this book.

Having said that, I can honestly say that I cannot remember the last time I read a book that held such potential, only to fall apart, almost from page 1.

The author is literally all over the place with this story.  He is in the past (when the event happened), then he goes even further back in time, then he mixes the past  with his current timeline, then we are in a "what if" scenario that may never have happened and then we are in one of his dreams and I found myself completely confused.

He also went off on tangents all the time.  Early in the book, he explains about the involvement of k-9s during the search, which quickly turns into a way too long history on the use of k-9 dogs in criminal cases.  Then he wanders off topic when he starts talking, again in too much detail, about serial killer Ramirez.  Yes, there is some pertinence to him talking about Ramirez because he stayed at the Cecil at some point - wayyyyy before Elisa Lam was there, but all of the detailed backstory on this murderer is not necessary.  If I want to read about him and his crimes, I can pick up another book.

The other issue I had is that the author kept intermingling his own personal issues with the case and with Elisa.  Yes, I know that he obviously was attracted to this case, in part because of the shared mental illness that they both suffer from.   But, wow, there was way toooooo much information on the author and his personal life, that frankly, just removed from the story.  He could have simply spent a paragraph explaining the shared illness and moved on.  But, it was pages and pages of "I am dreaming, I am losing it, I am, I am, I am" and none of this was necessary to the story.

The one thing that the author did very well  is describe the hotel while actually staying there on two occassions.  He made the whole Cecil come alive with his descriptions and he managed to convey a real sense of dread and creepiness.  He could have written a whole book on the Cecil and I would have read it.

In the end, while the author did bring up a few unknown facts, there isn't much he can do with them as absolutely nobody seems to want to investigate this further.  Perhaps there is a conspiracy, but at this point, he only brings up more unanswered questions with very few chances of ever getting an answer.  I am not even sure what he thinks happened.....as there are so many back and forth theories, involving so many different people and he is not really clear with what he thinks is the real story.

Ultimately, this is a very sad book.  It never needed to happen - any of it and Elisa would be back home, living her life.  But it did happen and I do hope that her family and friends have managed to find some peace.

As for this book, if you can get it at the library, go for it, otherwise.....not so much.

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