Title: The Drifter
Author: Christine Lennon
Genre/Audience: Fiction, adult
Publication: William Morrow, 2017
Source: For review, TLC Book Tours
The Drifter is an interesting story that shows how events and tragedies can shape a life, good or bad.
Elizabeth is a wife and mother trying to forget a painful past and the scary memories it holds. Twenty years earlier, as a college student, violence struck her quiet college town in the form of a killer. Tragedy causes Elizabeth to move away and never look back. Despite her trying to move on with her life, the events creep up on her and cause her frequent nightmares, anxiety, and pain.
While at first glance, this book may appear to be suspense based on the plot, it’s actually not. Truth be told, it’s kind of slow moving and slow building, focusing more on Elizabeth’s life before and after the tragedy, and how exactly it changed the course of her life and shaped who she would become.
The story is incredibly atmospheric, something I viewed as one of its strongest attributes. A good chunk of the story takes place in Gainesville, FL in 1990, and Lennon does a remarkable job of setting the scene and showcasing college and sorority life in the 90s. Elizabeth (aka Betsy) was a character I enjoyed. She had a strong personality and an independent streak, quitting the sorority when she no longer felt it was a good fit for her. I really liked learning about her past and discovering how she became the adult she would eventually be. There were dark undertones to this story with no real lightness at all; this may seem like a downer, but it really added to the atmosphere of the story and sucked me right in.
While the story could move slowly at times and be a bit verbose, I really viewed it as a very character driven novel and an examination of Elizabeth as a whole. I enjoyed seeing her story unravel, slowly or not, and thought the build up was kind of exciting and fun. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and felt tense while reading… I was really drawn in!
This is definitely a dark story and quite unique. The setting really stood out for me, as the author painted such a vivid picture of college life in the 90s and the darker side of human nature. I recommend this one, but with a warning that you shouldn’t expect a thriller as the plot might imply. Be prepared to settle in for a slow building yet intriguing ride!