SnapShot

April 28, 2014 Book Reviews 0 ★★★½

SnapShot three-half-stars
on 01/14/2014
Pages: 312
Format: eARC

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Two little girls, frozen in black and white. One picture worth killing for.

The Civil Rights Movement is less than a distant memory to Lisa Waldren--it is someone else's memory altogether, passed on to her through the pages of history. Her life as a federal prosecutor in Boston feels utterly remote from the marches in the South that changed her father's generation--and the entire nation--forever.
But the truth is, she was there.

When a photograph surfaces showing a blond, four-year-old Lisa playing with an African-American girl at a civil rights march in Fort Worth, Lisa is faced with a jarring revelation: the girls may have been the only witnesses who observed the killer of civil rights leader Benjamin Gray . . . and therefore the only ones who can exonerate the death row inmate falsely accused of the murder.

Soon, Lisa finds herself in the dangerous world her father had shielded her from as a child. After some searching, the Waldrens find the other little girl from the photo and, in the process, uncover conspiracy mere steps away from the likes of Bobby Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and J. Edgar Hoover.

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review by Travis Starnes

An estranged father and daughter look back at the events surrounding the murder of a civil rights leader in the 1960s, a murder the two of them experienced first hand when both were much younger.  Snapshot is somewhere between a standard mystery/thriller and a fictional look back at the troubled 60s.

I am torn by this book.  It is both a run of the mill, middle of the road mystery and a fairly interesting story.  Every time I think about the book I can’t tell if I thought it was just ok or really liked it, because it hit me in two completely different ways.

The first way is in how the book is presented.  As a mystery novel there isn’t much that got me going.  The mystery is not overly complicated, although the book piles on the intrigue to make it seem more intricate, and it strings along the information given to the reader.  Other than the Molly character, who might be my favorite character in the whole book, there is not much to recommend everyone.  Most of the characters are on the bland side and fairly one dimensional.  The villain of the book is a little more fun to follow, and is evil enough to make him fun, but how his story worked out was really pretty underwhelming.  Coupled with that is a rather slow pacing that is really stop and start and does not build or ever feel like it is rushing forward.  To be fair I have a preference for series where the characters are built up and a few books in they all feel like they have a real history, but even as a standalone mystery this feels just bland.  Not bad mind you; it just doesn’t get my blood going.

What brings this book up from being completely forgettable and plain is the history in it.  Although not full of flashbacks beyond the first chapter when the book was set up, Wiehl does a great job of looking at the history of the time.  Feeding in details from the past and all the events surrounding the picture of the two little girls is really fun to watch.  And knowing this book grew out of a real picture taken during the height of segregation with a little white girl and a little black girl sitting together, a picture where the author herself is one of the little girls, really adds to how connected this book is.  Because of this, and the intense research that clearly went into it, the book feels so grounded as to elevate the mystery to the next level.

If you are looking for a gripping mystery or thriller then this book will be a bit of a letdown.  If however you have an interest in US history or the civil rights movement and want a fiction book that has its hooks into those topics then this is worth picking up.

three-half-stars
Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 3.6

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