It is always thrilling when I discover a fabulous new author. Vera Jane Cook’s Pleasant Day is a Southern fiction novel that blends a dramatic slice of life with a satisfying murder mystery. Pleasant Day is Cook’s eighth published novel.
Pleasant Day is one of the sweet surprises that come out of nowhere. The novel focuses on two very different women, fifteen year old Pleasant Day and sixty year old Clarissa Blackwell. Cook grabs the reader’s attention right from the beginning with the murder of Pleasant’s best friend Mille that has some uncanny similarities to a murder fifteen years prior of another young woman who was very close with Clarissa.
A chance encounter brings Clarissa into Pleasant’s life and as their investigation into the murders of these two girls intensifies so does their unusual bond. Clarissa also has a very unpredictable psychic ability that comes in handy as this unlikely duo hunt for a killer (or killers). This book is filled with wonderful characters that reach out to you from the pages. Family lies and secrets tear the people in the storyline apart but also bring them together at the end. Cook has a flair for making the angst real for her characters touching on many subjects like bullying, and molestation as the cracks begin to widen in this idyllic small town façade.
The book steers the reader through a winding path of twisted plot turns moving steadily like driving on a picturesque country road. Each chapter is more vivid than the one before. As the drama unfolds and each confidence is revealed, you find yourself becoming emotionally invested in the suffering these people. From the simplicity of first love to the devastation of divorce, the reader is taken on an emotional ride. Cook’s writing is sharp and witty as each character confronts their past demons. The chapter with the confrontation between Pleasant and her mother is utterly heart wrenching. I literally could not put this book down; it is one of those novels that you read in a sitting or two. For those who love Southern fiction and mysteries, Pleasant day is right up your alley. It is a quick read that draws you in immediately and doesn’t let go until the last page. For more information, go to www.verajanecook.com.
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