Journalistic tut-tutting aside, Wood’s mixture of fact and art yields a tale both gritty and introspective, with a real murder providing an entree to an examination of the nature of love ... But he also does much more, reaching back into his own memories to uncover precise, artfully rendered recollections of his own life and loves, juxtaposing them with the impending tragedy on Anna Maria Island. Wood’s prose is detailed yet deft; he stops just short of laying on the writerly stuff too thick ... This is a fine true-crime mystery and a touching journey into the human heart.
Wood's debut, is a memoir of post-college ennui; an investigation into a likely murder; an exploration of the light and dark sides of human connection; and an imaginative account of what might have happened to Sabine. Wood blurs genre boundaries, eventually offering a hybrid form that best suits his mind's wanderings ... Wood deserves credit for a narrative voice that prizes honesty over flattery, or self-flattery. His book is essentially an examination, not only of Sabine and of her murderer's emotions and motivations, but of the narrator himself, of universal human flaws ... a memorable, thought-provoking work of true crime and imagination.
In descriptive and impressive prose, Wood gives us his version of what happened and why ... Wood’s focus on his own life will distract true-crime fans, who will be disappointed with the lack of actual crime or investigation. But those who appreciate style and creativity, which Wood has in abundance, will enjoy this.
The most conventional part of the story follows a familiar true-crime format, culminating in a confession that solves the mystery. But along the way, the book becomes more about Wood and how he stumbled into a relationship with a woman he didn’t know as well as he should have ... Reads like a mashup of at least three different books in one, written with psychological insight and literary flair but lacking cohesion and focus.