Carly is a novel about Carly Taylor who is in prison for the murder of James Andres. She is visited and interviewed by Vanessa St. John, who wants all the details of Carly’s story. Carly is also trying to find out what happened to her cousin Lisa Gibbons.
Theme of the Book
The main characters, Carly and Vanessa, are motivated by two things. One is revenge for injuries suffered and the second is devotion to family.
What I Liked About the Story
Carly is somewhere between a short story and a novella in length which makes it a very quick book to read and finish. The story is structured as an interview between Carly and Vanessa with flashbacks to the events that led to Carly’s imprisonment.The interview format is a good choice for this story as it allows the reader to get a good idea of Carly’s character and of her history without the need for long narrative passages. Presenting the story as an interview gives it an immediacy that would be lacking in another format.
Carly’s past experiences, while horrendous, are presented without graphic violence. The reader is left to imagine the scenes Carly talks about with Vanessa.
The author has done a good job of developing suspense and tension in Carly in a very short space. James’ behavior moves from simple observation to dangerously psychopathic very quickly – more quickly than would have happened in real life. By condensing the action into just a few pages, the author has heightened the menace and fear.
The reader will have sympathy for Carly as victim and will cheer her on as avenging angel. Her character is clear. Vanessa, on the other hand, is a puzzle. Should the reader sympathize with her devotion to her brother despite his crimes? Or is Vanessa another complete villain? We do not know enough about her to judge.
What I Didn’t Like About the Story
Many Amazon reviewers have commented about the unexpected twist at the end in Carly. This twist was not, however, a total surprise. The author gives clues at the beginning of the book when Carly says to the guard, “It has to work.” Alert readers will already understand that something unexpected is about to happen. There are also obvious clues in Vanessa’s behavior: the way that she stares at Carly, the nervousness she evinces, her shock to hear that James has a twin brother.
One or two of these clues would be understandable. More than that are an anticlimax. We know from the beginning that there is a twist in the story. It is only the details that are missing.
I also found Uncle Alan to be a rather surprising character. Why was he there? What had happened before to enable the prison interview to be set up the way it was?
I have not yet read any of this author’s other books. This is an author with talent who has, in Carly, written a short yet intense story. I look forward to her longer books.