Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


Book Author: Rebecca A. Keller

YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN by Rebecca A. Keller: Book Review

When a grieving grandmother spots the person she believes is complicit in the aftermath of her granddaughter’s death, thoughts of revenge become all-consuming.  

Frannie Greene has taken a number of falls, and she reluctantly allows her daughter and son to convince her to move into the Ridgewood Assisted Living Complex, at least on a trial basis.  She can still keep her condo, they reassure her, but in the meantime she’ll have the security of knowing that help is available day and night if she needs it.  And think of all the amenities you’ll be able to use, they tell her–the library, the crafts room, the  chapel, the glorious outdoor space.

However, after a few weeks Frannie hasn’t taken advantage of any of them.  She’s feeling vaguely guilty but still keeping herself aloof from these gathering places.  Then, walking down a corridor one day, she meets Katherine, and the two women strike up a conversation about books.  Katherine invites Frannie to join her at the next day’s book group discussion in the complex’s library.

The two women soon start meeting frequently, always for lunch in the dining room but never for the evening meal.  Then, one night Frannie sees Katherine and her husband, Nathaniel, at dinner, seated a few tables away from her, and Katherine invites her over to meet Nathaniel.  Although she had spoken to him briefly in the music room the day she met Katherine, suddenly something he says now strikes Frannie like a blow.

It’s when he uses the word adequate that she realizes who Nathaniel is and when and where she’d seen him before.  He is the judge who presided over the trial of the man who was driving the car that killed Bethany, her only granddaughter. 

Nathaniel had decided that it would be adequate for the driver to enroll in a twelve-step program and pay a fine rather than face jail time.  Hearing him speak now and hearing him use that same word that he used when he imposed the so-called punishment, Frannie realizes how distinctive his southern accent is.  It is as “unmistakeable as linguistic DNA.”

Now all Frannie can think of is revenge for Bethany’s death and for Bethany’s mother’s emotional breakdown afterward.  Following the trial, evidence emerged that proved that the prosecutor, the accused’s attorney, and some of the police had accepted bribes to get the driver a reduced sentence, and that this was not the only time it had happened.  Nathaniel had not been implicated, but in Frannie’s mind he is as guilty as the others.  Now she has the opportunity, and certainly the motive, to make him pay for his crime.

Rebecca A. Keller will make readers think about whether revenge can ever be justified.  Frannie, Katherine, and Nathaniel are fully formed characters with strengths and faults that make them realistic and understandable.  With each chapter we gain a deeper understanding of Frannie and her wish to do what she thinks will help her daughter get back on the road to emotional recovery.

You can read more about the author at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.