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What Strange Creatures by Emily Arsenault

I'm catching up on some of my reading.  I caught up on Anna McPartlin's novels, and now I'm catching up on Emily Arsenault's novels.  What Strange Creatures is the fourth novel by Emily Arsenault, and I have reviewed her three previous novels on the blog here, here, and here.  I really enjoyed the tone and narrator character of this novel.  What Strange Creatures seems a little wittier and grittier than Arsenault's previous novels.  It was a quick read, and it was hard to put down.

When Theresa's brother Jeff's girlfriend Kim fails to return after a weekend away, Theresa begins a bumbling investigation, tracking down the woman's roommate, ex-boyfriend, and former professor to suss out leads regarding Kim's whereabouts.  Initially Theresa's primary motivation is find out when Kim will return because Theresa would 'like to be relieved of dog sitting duties' after agreeing to dog sit Kim's dog for the weekend.  Subsequently Theresa's primary motivation shifts to clearing her brother's name when he is arrested for the young woman's murder following the discovery of her body.

Theresa's preliminary digging uncovers a slew of secrets and lies that Kim hid from Jeff, such as her role as witness in the murder trial of a childhood friend and her current plans for a video/smear campaign against the current U.S. Senate Democratic candidate for Massachusetts.  The latter of which happened to be the prosecuting attorney in the murder trial as well as the purpose of her weekend away.  Theresa's investigation also hints that she does not know her brother as well as she thinks she does.

Let's be real here, people.  Neither Theresa nor Jeff are very bright bulbs or maybe they're just naive because neither finds it very urgent to report Kim's absence to the proper authorities even after the woman's been missing a week (!).  And Theresa, Jeff, and the Battle family in general maintain an oddly distant/disconnected dynamic.

Ultimately I sussed out the shady character rather early in the novel although the nature of the shadiness could have gone either way (murder or romance) with that one.  This is a page turning mystery that will suck you in right up until the heart pounding, terrifying conclusion.  I recommend you check out this book the next time you're at the library.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie

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