Something Yellow: A Mystery without any Mystery

This is post number 16.

Background: Something Yellow is written by Laura Templeton, and is a stand alone novel. The cover has a picture of pink sneakers on top of a field of yellow daffodils.

Plot: Holly is a banker in Atlanta who moves back home to her small town in the Appalachian mountains. She has returned to help her terminally ill mother in her final months. 13 years ago, Holly’s sister Rachel went missing and her family had never been the same since. She had always blamed her ex-boyfriend Houston for her sister’s disappearance even though no one else thinks he is guilty.

Spoilers: The novel opens with a neighbor’s daughter going missing. Holly and her mother are disturbed as the girl has a similar description to Rachel. Holly tries to adjust to rural life, and becomes friends with the pastor who is also from Atlanta. The girl’s body is found, and at the funeral, Holly confronts Houston about how she still thinks he is responsible for what happened to her sister. Oliver, Holly’s brother, also returns to town to help take care of their mother. Holly investigates background on Houston and discovers that he is not responsible for Rachel’s disappearance. The local psychic tells her to talk to Oliver to find out what happened to Rachel, but Holly is distracted when the man who killed the neighbor girl is found and goes to trial. She starts going out with Houston again, and the psychic reminds her to talk to Oliver. After some holiday celebrations, Holly gets a lead on her sister’s mystery by visiting her former basketball coach. He confesses that he helped Oliver bury her sister 13 years ago in exchange for keeping his secret of molesting boys, including molesting Oliver. She confronts Oliver who confesses that Rachel fell and died, and he buried her because he didn’t know what else to do. He drives away, and then gets in a fatal accident. A short while later, Holly’s mother dies. Holly returns to Atlanta after breaking up with Houston, but he shows up at her door and whisks her away back to their hometown.

Passage:

I threw the term paper on the ground and jumped into the car quickly, before he could reach me. He ran after me as I backed down the driveway . Through the windshield, I saw him yelling. His open mouth made a black O against the twilight. I sped up, my tires throwing gravel into the air. I drove out of Bushy Creek faster than I’d ever driven in my life. The car fishtailed on the dirt road, and I nearly lost control as I rounded a sharp curve that ran right by the river. I didn’t slow down. Right then I’d just as soon die, be sucked down under the fast-moving waters of Bushy Creek, be knocked unconscious against the rocks, my car shattered to bits.

Opinion: When it comes to mysteries, I usually expect the main character to have some sort of drive to solve the mystery, but Holly just lets information fall into her lap rather than seek it out. There should also be a sense of danger or urgency to drive the story along, but the only motivation the characters had were to find closure for themselves. A few twists caught me by surprise like the coach being a pedophile, but having the psychic repeatedly tell Holly to talk to her brother took away the any shock factor the ending may have had.This made the story drag on and feel more like a lifetime movie on paper than a true mystery.

The romance between Holly and Houston felt forced, especially the end when he just shows up and she jumps into his arms like everything is okay. This is compounded by the fact that none of the characters are particularly interesting or do anything except die. Speaking of which, Oliver’s death actually made me laugh because of how abrupt it was; I mean, one minute he is confessing this horrible turn of fate with Rachel and how he was molested, and the next he just gets in a car and kills himself by crashing into a tree with no further explanation or pleas for forgiveness.

Overall the writing is not terrible. There is decent pacing, and the use of first person is used correctly although not to its highest potential to create suspense.

Ratings: This is a mystery novel so the ratings are as follows.

Surprises/Twists: 7/10

Problem Solving/ Finding Info: 2/10

Sense of Danger/ Urgency: 2/10

Creativity: 3/10

Plot: 4/10

Overall, I give this book a 3/10. The lack of drive for anyone to find out what happened to Rachel dragged out what little story there was, and having flat characters only made the problem worse.

Citation: Templeton, Laura (2013-09-28). Something Yellow (p. 148). Cup of Tea Books, an imprint of PageSpring Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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