HEART SHAPED BOX
HarperCollins, Feb 2001, 24.00, 264 pp.
After receiving the invitation to attend the Minor, Oregon class of '79 twentieth reunion, a hesitant Claire Montrose thinks back to the nondescript seventies. She fit perfectly in a decade that offered nothing except closure to the sixties, as she was far from popular. However, those liabilities in high school like being too tall or too smart are assets for a thirty-seven year old person. She decides to go to show off herself and her even more gorgeous boyfriend Dante.
At the reunion, Claire learns a prime law of physics. In spite of Dante and receiving a heart shaped box with her picture inside it, Claire's high school insecurities return threatening to engulf her. Before she can hide in a chem lab, someone murders another attendee who received the same type of box as April. Other coeds also were given the identical gift. Attendee police officer Kyle Kraushaar investigates the homicide while former vanity plate checker Claire does likewise.
THE HEART SHAPED BOX, the third entry in the Montrose amateur sleuth series, is a humorous who-done-it. The story line is fun and amusing, especially the vanity tags at the end of each chapter and Claire's outlook on life. The investigation follows mostly Kyle around, and in all honesty, the audience will feel we know Claire; he's no Claire. There are a plethora of suspects, but readers will easily hone in on the killer's identity. Still, Claire clearly remains a wonderfully insecure lead character making this novel enjoyable though not quite at the level of its predecessors.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner