DiscoverMystery & Crime

The Dime Box

By

Loved it! 😍

When Ian Giffen is found dead in his palliative care bed, his daughter, Greta, is the prime suspect. Greta has a story that reveals all!

Synopsis

Greta Giffen barely escaped being murdered by the man she grew up with. She’s not sure who Ian is, or who she is, but she’s determined to find out. When she bolts from their secluded cabin in northern Ontario and flees to Toronto, her new life comes at a price. Ian dies under suspicious circumstances and a veteran detective believes eighteen-year-old Greta has the perfect motive.

A prime suspect in a tense police investigation, Greta finds it hard to make Detective Astra Perez believe the details of her dark and appalling story. Digging deep into her sordid history and forced to face the people from her past in a new light, Greta struggles to accept the secrets that have haunted her since childhood. Still, Detective Perez remains doubtful. And until Greta herself confronts the disturbing evidence in front of her, she will never truly escape that cabin in the woods.

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and Karen Grose. for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.


Interested in some Canadian crime fiction, I thought that I would tackle Karen Grose’s book to see if it held up to all the hype. Greta Giffen is all of nineteen years of age and already an orphan. When she is seen rushing out of her father’s palliative care room, the nurses know something is up. Ian Giffen is dead in his bed and the authorities can only wonder if and how Greta might be responsible. While being interviewed, Greta takes the detective (and reader) back through her life, one in which she was forced to live under the controlling thumb of Ian Giffen. She reveals much about her home life, something she tried to get away from at every turn. As the story progresses, the reader learns more about the hardships that befell a young Greta and how she coped, with a small dime box as her most trusted companion. When the investigation heats up and Greta seems certain to be guilty, she adds new layers to her story in order to explain things away. However, there is no disputing that Ian Giffen is dead and that she was the last person to see him alive. Where the investigation will end up is anyone’s guess, though the reader will have to travel this long and twisted route to get to the truth. A well-paced debut novel by Karen Grose, sure to pique the interest of the curious reader.

Recommended to those who enjoy novels with flashback/forward narratives, as well as the reader who likes to read books set in rural Canada.


I love books set in Canada, particularly when I can somewhat relate to their setting. There is so much to take away from them, rather than flipping through yet another book situated on the gritty streets of America or even into Europe. Grose does well in her development of the setting, but it is the evolution of Greta Giffen that steals the show. Nineteen going on fifty, or so it seems, Greta has much to tell the reader in this ever-revealing story that tells a story in quite the jagged fashion. The reader learns much about the life of this young woman, from foibles to heroic struggles to define herself and find out the truth that might set her free. Other characters throughout offer a wonderful dose of grit and determination, leaving the reader wondering what awaits them in the next chapter or two. The story was decent and told in a unique way. While I love the flashback/forward used in the book, at times I thought it got to be too much; the lines of the narrative too fluid for me to truly grasp where things were headed. Grose has developed this thriller effectively, but I had wished for a little more grounding. The short chapters and numerous cliffhangers kept me wanting to read on (which I did) to learn just what Greta had been doing and how things fell into place. Well-written and easy to read, I will keep my eyes open for more by Karen Grose in the coming years!


Kudos, Madam Grose, for a nice debut that kept me thinking. I hope others trip upon this piece and offer similar praise.


Reviewed by

I love to read and review all sorts of books. My passion is crime and thrillers, but there are so many other genres that pique my attention.

While I am not a full-time reader, I try to dedicate as much time to my passion as possible, as can be seen on my blog and Goodreads.

Synopsis

Greta Giffen barely escaped being murdered by the man she grew up with. She’s not sure who Ian is, or who she is, but she’s determined to find out. When she bolts from their secluded cabin in northern Ontario and flees to Toronto, her new life comes at a price. Ian dies under suspicious circumstances and a veteran detective believes eighteen-year-old Greta has the perfect motive.

A prime suspect in a tense police investigation, Greta finds it hard to make Detective Astra Perez believe the details of her dark and appalling story. Digging deep into her sordid history and forced to face the people from her past in a new light, Greta struggles to accept the secrets that have haunted her since childhood. Still, Detective Perez remains doubtful. And until Greta herself confronts the disturbing evidence in front of her, she will never truly escape that cabin in the woods.

ONE

Greta sat rigid in the hard-backed chair. The quiet was oppressive. Thoughts she didn’t want to acknowledge— thoughts that crawled and lived in abandoned corners of hermind—crept into the light. What was taking the police so long to conduct their investigation? She’d recounted her story and answered each question. Only one had taken her by surprise.

What’s a daughter’s obligation to her parents?

Greta wasn’t sure what her obligations were to anyone but herself. And she didn’t know why she couldn’t answer.

Except that wasn’t true… She did know why.

If she’d answered the question honestly, the detective might have seen the raw, feral side she’d worked so hard to tame, and that, quite simply, was too much of a risk. She’d buried the past and she wanted to move forward. And so she’d left that particular question dangling, unresolved.

Minutes later, the door swung open. Detective Perez stepped into the room, walked to her desk and sat down in the chair, shuffling through a file of papers in her hand. She took off her reading glasses and laid them in front of her.

Greta’s chest tightened. Even with her lawyer beside her, she struggled for air. She reached down, felt around the front pocket of her jeans, and found the coin hidden deep inside. She rubbed it, working hard to calm herself, breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth. Slow, steady breaths.

Detective Perez focused her eyes on her. “Let’s go over process,” she said.

Greta sighed. Process? Again?

“The police lay charges in an investigation,” the detective told her.

She nodded. She knew. Sometimes they consulted the Crown. “We collect the evidence.”

Yep. She’d heard it all before.

“In cases like yours, I want to review the possibilities.” The detective’s tone made it sound like she was having an everyday, routine conversation.

Greta stiffened, jaw clenched in an effort to stay poised.

Detective Perez held her hand up and pressed a pencil to the tips of her fingers. “One: first-degree murder; two: second-degree murder; three: manslaughter.”

Greta looked to her fourth. “Or no charges at all and I’m free.”

The detective paused. She didn’t look at Greta’s lawyer as she spoke. “That’s correct and—”

A cellphone buzzed, causing the words to dangle in the air. Detective Perez reached across her desk and flicked the button on the left side to silent. She smiled apologetically and glanced at her notes.

“So, between the Coroner’s report and our investigation, I determine whether there’s enough evidence to lay a charge.” The detective stopped and looked at her. “I’ve made that decision.”

Greta’s heart thumped. Her mouth went dry. This was it. She stared back at the detective and wondered what she was thinking. What sort of person could kill her own parent? But the detective’s eyes gave nothing away.

The phone lit up again. No sound, but Greta could feel the vibration through the desk. The detective looked down and groaned. This time she picked it up. “What?” she said. She listened. “Really?”

Greta curled into herself. To her surprise, Detective Perez stood, picked up the file of papers and left. She leaned back. Her palms left sweat marks on the chair. A hand squeezed hers gently. In the adjacent seat, her lawyer shrugged, then smiled, but not before the expression on his face had dissolved completely.


About the author

Karen Grose was born in Canada and lives with her family in Toronto. After a long career as a teacher, principal and superintendent, she turned her attention to writing. The Dime Box is her debut novel and she is currently working on a second. view profile

Published on December 05, 2019

Published by Notebook Publishing

70000 words

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Reviewed by

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