Book Review, Mystery

Book Review: Bonnie

If you haven’t read the other books in the Eve Duncan series by Iris Johansen, then stop right here, because spoilers are unavoidable. It’s also nearly impossible to follow the various turns, twists and surprises in Bonnie without knowing the back story and following along through the entire series.

Bonnie concludes a three-part trilogy that wraps up the open-ended mystery surrounding Bonnie Duncan, a bright, vivacious kindergartner abducted during a school picnic. Bonnie leaves her mother and grandmother for a few moments to buy an ice cream, and in the space of less than a minute, vanishes from the playground. Despite an intensive search and countless clues, her body is never recovered, the mystery unsolved.

Her mother, Eve Duncan, is so driven to find her daughter and “bring her home” that she becomes a world-renowned forensic reconstruction sculpture specializing in children to help parents get the closure she never got by identifying their missing children from among remains discovered by the police.

Throughout the series, there’s an element of the supernatural. Bonnie appears to Eve as a ghost, giving her a glimpse into the afterlife (“Forgiveness and love, Mama…that’s all there is). We know Bonnie is dead – but finding her killer is really the driving force behind the series. Even after Eve falls in love with Joe Duncan, adopts a daughter named Jane, and solves countless mysteries, she is still driven to solve Bonnie’s murder and find her daughter’s body.

As you can imagine, the book, Bonnie, solves the mystery once and for all.

It’s a shocker to learn who, after all, was responsible for Bonnie’s death – and why.  And while I felt sorry for the character, I was left feeling dissatisfied by the plot turns and twists. There’s some elaborate twists with Bonnie’s father a missing Korean prisoner of war, her great uncle revealed as a schizophrenic, two murderers for hire, and a psychiatrist turned Roman Catholic priest who Johanson wants us to suspect as someone in on the plot (he’s not, and turns out to be a decent, caring person. Score one for the good guys!)

Bonnie was a page turner, with Johansen’s usual crisp dialogue and swift-moving plot. All in all, if you’re into the Johansen – Eve Duncan series, buy a copy of Bonnie today, just to get the closure you need after following the series and its characters all these years.

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