Baggage by S.G. Redling was one of the books I purchased at an Audible sale. I was looking for interesting crime novels that had good reviews and it fell perfectly within that category. What drew me to it was the premise of a person so unlucky that bad things would repeatedly happen to her on the same day of the year, February 17th. I felt that in and on itself was quite an interesting concept and therefore decided to go for it.
The book starts with our heroine, Anna, and her thoughts on her way home from work on February the 16th. After living through a second tragedy the year before, the first happening when she was a young woman, she has moved to a different town, gotten a new job, a new apartment and has restarted her life. She seems to be quite content with her situation and as you read on you feel she enjoys her job and although she drinks quite a lot it doesn’t sound too bad.
Anna has a cousin, Jeannie, who supports her and is introduced relatively early in the book as she visits to help her get through the infamous date of tragedy. Jeannie seems like a sweet but also extremely determined person who’s working as a professor and was previously teaching at the school where Anna now works as a guidance councilor. Anna also works with Meredith who’s this motherly somewhat girl scout of a woman that seems to have anything you ever need hiding in her office, ready to whip it up at a moment’s notice, including food, beverages, chocolates and so forth.
I liked these main characters, they were interesting in their completely different ways. Anna is dark, funny at times and uses an excessive amount of profanity. Jeannie seemed like a good friend and Meredith was cuddly and cheerful and seemed to have an extremely good way of looking at life where she tried her best to understand the people around her without judgment.
The story kicks off with a body being found in the basement of the school. That body is of a professor teaching at the school, a professor that had previously shown interest in Anna and while Jeannie worked there he’d also had a relationship with her. Anna didn’t reciprocate that interest, but since a gift with her name on it is found on the slightly mutilated body, she gets tangled in the investigation.
In the interesting of not spoiling the book, I’m going to stop here 🙂
I love, love, loved this book. It is currently being filed away in my mental favorite shelf where it will be cherished forever.
I love the way the author wraps the characters around the story and the characters become the focus, not the crime itself. How we are allowed to follow Anna’s thoughts through the chapters and her feelings in different situations. All of which were very believable and appropriate given what was happening.
I love how she allows her characters to be rude at times and inappropriate and just a bit off. As a reader you understand Anna, you feel for her, you want to comfort her and be her friend. She’s an interesting person but also a bit broken and that makes her exactly the way a leading lady should be.
I love the little things are puzzled together. She doesn’t forget the insignificant little bits she added but uses them to her convenience and it all wraps up with a perfect pink bow. There’s nothing too mundane not to be usable later in the story and this is a good lesson to other authors, such as myself.
Her vocabulary and usage of the English language was also a delight. I always felt she picked exactly the right word for her descriptions which made the whole story vivid and easy to follow.
As an author it is very hard to create a story where I can’t guess the ending. This was one of the cases where I could guess but it didn’t really matter since I enjoyed the story so much that I was happy to follow her unwrapping and the way she’d make it work.
The narrator also did a fantastic job giving life to each and every character, changing her voice to accommodate the different individuals and personalities.
All in all a book truly worth reading and one that every crime lover should get his or her hands on. I would say it’s the one to beat but in crime we’re all friends, so I’ll say it’s the one to match!