Game of Secrets
Random House, Jun 5 2012, $15.00
In 1957, Luce vanished leaving behind his skiff. Three years later, his skull with a bullet-hole in it is found in a gravel pit.
In 2004, Luce’s granddaughter Marne comes home from California after her brother Alex calls her about the state of their mom Jane, who never fully moved pass the murder of her father when she was a tweener and the recent death of her weekly Scrabble partner Ada. Marne is attracted to her brother’s best friend Ray, but will not act on her feelings because he is one of two sons (Huck is the other) of Ada, who was having an affair with Luce when he was murdered. However, Ray keeps showing up ostensibly to see Alex, but he really wants to date Marne. As they begin to go out together, Marne begins to better understand what haunts her mother who played Scrabble every week for years with Ada though the players rarely discussed Luce.
Though a murder ties and yet keeps apart two families, Game of Secrets is an entertaining character study that switches era and viewpoint seemingly effortlessly. As Marne looks deeper at her mom, she and readers understand the need for Jane to learn who killed her dad and the reason she played Scrabble as she believes Ada knows the truth. The eeriness of the game is a stunner but also can slow down the psychological drama with sidebar cat and mouse commentary on children. Still fans will relish this otherwise enjoyable unusual family affair as like Jane we are hooked with a need to know who.