Monday, February 20, 2012

Night Corridor

by Joan Hall Hovey

It's 1973. Residents in the town of St. Simeon are in fear. A serial killer is roaming the streets. Caroline Hill, in a mental hospital for nine years is released to start her new life. With help from the hospital, she is set up in an apartment and a new job. While she rediscovers herself and tries to cope with the world, she deals with a sexist co-worker and realizes she's being watched and followed. As the weeks roll by, the body count grows and Caroline's fears mount. With the inevitable meeting with the killer she must wage a desperate fight for survival.

I like the premise, but once you get into it, you soon see how the story is 'off' in many places. For instance, weeks go by between the first suspicions of a stalker and the next incident. A subplot is included where the police suspect one guy of killing his wife and making it look like the serial killer's work, but they take a long while to get a search warrant to confront him.

Caroline Hill: 26, nine years in a mental institution. Put there by her Bible thumping father and submissive mother, both dead when story starts. Caroline had a baby out of wedlock and was forced to give it up. She's sensitive to others and wary of her new freedom.

Greta Bannister: Caroline's landlady. Talkative. Caring

Harold Bannister: Greta's 24 year old nephew. Learning disability. Works in a bakery. Develops a crush for Caroline.

Lynne Addison: Nurse in the institution. Dealing with her mother's Alzheimer's. Wants only the best for Caroline.

Thomas O'Neal: Homicide detective

Buddy: Abused as a child. Neglected by his mother and uncles including one who raped him.

Mike Handratty: Caroline's coworker at the diner. Sexist, chauvinist, harasses Caroline.

Jeffrey Denton: Piano player who lives above Caroline.

Relatively unexciting characters, even though Caroline's rediscovery of herself is an interesting study. Some of the background for a few characters is irrelevant to the story. Buddy's is a typical story.

Pretty basic. Some standard B-movie lines. Nothing too exciting.

This was a difficult story to read. Short chapters. Other than some of the plot problems, this book is fraught with mistakes editing should have caught. Missing quotation marks or quotes in the wrong places. Extra or missing words. Sentence structure doesn't flow in many places. There are abrupt switches in POV. Slow action. Climax is drawn out and not suspenseful. End of chapter foreshadowing seems forced and one doesn't pan out. Set in the seventies with some minor references, but not enough to matter. Title is unique, but irrelevant, unless I'm missing something.

My ranking:

Yellow Belt

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