Read Invisible Boy by Cornelia Read Online


The smart-mouthed but sensitive runaway socialite Madeline Dare is shocked when she discovers the skeleton of a brutalized three-year-old boy in her own weed-ridden family cemetery outside Manhattan. Determined to see that justice is served, she finds herself examining her own troubled personal history, and the sometimes hidden, sometimes all-too-public class and racial waThe smart-mouthed but sensitive runaway socialite Madeline Dare is shocked when she discovers the skeleton of a brutalized three-year-old boy in her own weed-ridden family cemetery outside Manhattan. Determined to see that justice is served, she finds herself examining her own troubled personal history, and the sometimes hidden, sometimes all-too-public class and racial warfare that penetrates every level of society in the savage streets of New York City during the early 1990s. Madeline is aided in her efforts by a colorful assemblage of friends, relatives, and new acquaintances, each one representing a separate strand of the patchwork mosaic city politicians like to brag about. The result is an unforgettable narrative that relates the causes and consequences of a vicious crime to the wider relationships that connect and divide us all....

Title : Invisible Boy
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780446511346
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 432 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Invisible Boy Reviews

  • Mallory
    2019-04-29 23:34

    When I saw this book on the shelf at the bookstore, I was excited to snatch it up, despite the horrible cover art. (Yes, I judge books by their covers - sue me!)It was on the "If you loved .... then try ..." shelf promoting "new" authors. Next to Room, which I adored, with a quote from Tana French on the front, who I love, I thought this would be a great read. The themes implied on the back - buried secrets, race relations, the nature of privilege - all resonated with me. Except that this book features one of the most irritating heroines I've encountered since Bella Swan, clumsy attempts at "hip" dialogue which just leaves her detective and prosecutor characters feel unprofessional, and adult characters who function like teenagers. Mother-daughter strife can be done well (see: Sharp Objects, among others) without feeling like they are written by moody 15-year-olds who [i]noooobody understaaaaands[/i]. Couple this with overly adjective-laden writing, half-hearted and aborted attempts to deal with heavy themes, strictly two-dimensional characters and a mystery plot which is flimsy at best and you have an overly long, overwrought, overly disappointing read.I should've known based on the dreadful cover art.

  • Bibliophile
    2019-05-13 03:34

    The mystery portion of this mystery is tiny. Mostly it is about the sassy, smart-assy Madeleine Read and her misadventures in Manhattan in the nineties. This time, she stumbles upon the bones of a murdered child. Lucky for her, the detective in charge is a kindred spirit who for that reason (I can't think of any other) keeps Maddie up-to-date on the investigation, thus enabling further misadventures. I don't necessarily require a lot of sleuthing and skulking in a mystery novel, but if the story is mostly character driven, the characters should be well drawn and interesting. Madeleine Dare is supposed to be badass, but her cursing and bitching do not make it so. Mind you, I have nothing per se against cursing and bitching (I do both on occasion), but here it just comes off as uncouth and childish: "hey, look at me so sassily swearing and quipping!" We are constantly reminded of Maddie's impeccable pedigree and her family's old money, presumably in order to highlight her rebellious life choices. Although she is dismissive of her background and eats pizza just like regular folks, she is still a terrible snob and repeatedly expresses her contempt for the nouveau-riche, beacause really, how vulgar. She is occasionally very funny, but tries way too hard to be cool. There's nothing wrong with a flawed heroine (I quite liked Maddie in Read's previous books), but this one is so full of herself it's mind-boggling. For instance, her guilt over her old, old, family's slave-owning ways makes her want to stop random black people in the street and apologize. Ugh.Those of you who get along better with Madeleine will surely enjoy this breezy mystery more.

    2019-05-18 23:39

    Sigh. This falls somewhere between "I didn't like it" and "it was okay." I'd read the two previous Madeline Dare mysteries with similar mixed feelings. Maddie Dare has potential: she's smart, snarky, a top drawer pedgiree but she's also got cash flow problems and a crappy job, she loves her husband and he seems like a great guy and she has a powerful sense of justice and desire to protect the innocent. She also has a potty mouth, gets drunk rather a lot, is not adverse to a little recreational drug use ... okay, it felt like more than a little. Parts of the plot were not well resolved for me, and I really don't need every t crossed and every i dotted but still, there were things just left hanging while the central mystery was solved awfully early. I guess the drama and tension were supposed to unfold in the courtroom, and it did, and how that all ends brings up some very legitimate questions about our justice system and the culpability/responsibility the drug junkie mother bears in the death of her child at the hands of her abusive boyfriend. Also, I found the amount of information that flowed form the cops and the assistant DA to Maddie, a witness in the case, to be a little unrealistic. Least I hope so. All in, not perfectly satisfying and in the end I just felt like all the drinking, drugs, cursing and trash talk was just trying to hard and kind of smothered the funny, witty bits for me. I will not be picking up another Maddie Dare.

  • Hannah Jo Parker
    2019-05-22 01:25

    Even if I hadn't enjoyed the first two books in this series, I would have been hooked on this book simply after reading the first two paragraphs:"So here's what I love about New York City: If someone acts like a dumb asshole and you call them on acting like a dumb asshole, the bystanders are happy about it.Anywhere else I've ever lived they just think I'm a bitch."Sassy, sassy, sassy! That's the voice of Madeline Dare, a former debutante who happens upon mysteries. Frankly, this book isn't much of a mystery, but it is a fast-paced, and often funny, look into the life of this woman who lives paycheck to paycheck in New York City with her husband, sister, and her sister's friend. There's some interesting family backstory, the "mystery," and a look at race's role in the criminal justice system.I think this is a good suggestion for people who like sassy women characters (and don't mind if they swear, drink, and occasionally smoke a little weed), but don't necessarily read mysteries. It might be one of those bridge books that nudges people into reading more mysteries.

  • Jennie
    2019-05-11 03:21

    Madeline gets drunk. Madeline does drugs. Madeline swears. Does more drugs. Gets drunker. Has a hangover. Swears some more. Finds a body. Provides an outlet for the author to preach about child abuse and white guilt in the most empty, ignorant, insipid way she possibly can. Does some more drugs. Wears ratty clothes. Swears some more. Hangs out with bitchy friends, swearing, drinking, and doing drugs. Gets sassy, and sassier. Madeline is once again in some town with no explanation of why she's there. No reference to the crazy school, apparently in New York City now because someone needed a roommate....? I gave it 150 pages. Rolled my eyes a lot. Sighed heavily. Decided all the characters were completely unlikeable. Wished I were reading a different book. Realized I could make that a reality quite easily. Closed book and series forever.

  • Maya
    2019-05-25 19:31

    If I were a normal person I would have stopped reading about ten pages in, but I find it impossible to quit on even the worst book. I googled the author and learned she did mostly young adult books, which made me want to cut her some slack, I guess, but the writing is just horrible. Too many adjectives, too many failed attempts at being clever. In fact, the writing was so bad that it did a good job distracting me from the utterly mediocre plot. The parts that try to deal with race relations were bumbling at best, racist and ignorant at worst. I've been writing fewer reviews bc I generally do them on my iPhone but this was bad enough to merit one. I'm just glad I'm a fast reader so I only wasted a few nights on this.

  • Sheila Good
    2019-04-28 22:24

    When I started this book, I was intrigued. Thought it would have some interesting twist and turns related to genelogy, race and a cold case murder. In the end, it had more to do with a case of terrible, elementary, disjointed writing and I'm still not sure what story the author was trying to tell! I'm left thinking, perhaps, this was an exercise in junior high fiction writing class!

  • John Seyfarth
    2019-05-04 02:27

    I gave up on this book at about page 80. The story centers on the discovery of a 3-year-old boy's skeleton, the condition of which suggests murder. However, the narrative lacks coherence, as the descriptions of the investigation are interspersed with nonsensical chapters of supposedly witty repartee between the narrator and her friends. These details have little to do with the story except to demonstrate the empty-headedness of these people.

  • Cheryl
    2019-05-12 20:16

    Synopsis: The year 1990, Madeline Dare, returns to New York City. Boarding school educated, self proclaimed liberal, liberated and very much opinionated. She accepts an invitation to help in the clean up and restoration of a historical family cemetery that is generations old and has been vandalized for years and not been tended to professionally. She comes upon skeletal remains in the tall grass and weeds and determines that the bones are of a child and freshly placed. Who is this child, who put him here and why here in this family plot? She has some misfortunate accidents or are they intentional?My Thoughts: From page one, I was pulled in with the writing style and, at times, funny New Yorkese narrative. During her quest to find justice for this child, Teddy, Madeline also learns that there has been abuse in her own family. She is also trying to be honest and loyal to a long time friend from boarding school. Madeline has to deal with the dynamics of her relationships with family members, old and new friends, and a little boy she never knew. My Opinion and Rating: I found the style and narrative unique and enjoyable. I gave this book a rating of 4 for the following reasons. Without giving anything away, I felt that there were two major traumatic incidents that should have been written with more of an in depth and detailed explanation. I also thought the same regarding the dynamics of the relationships that were involved.

  • Gaby
    2019-05-16 22:21

    Invisible Boy is the third of Cornelia Read's stories involving the quirky, struggling socialite Madeline Dare. Unlike The Crazy School which is part amateur mystery, Invisible Boy is largely focused on Madeline Dare, her family and her life which I found to be a more interesting read.From the earlier novels, we know that Madeline Dare's family ranks high in the Social Register and that her Mayflower legacy largely trumps her current poor financial situation. Though Madeline shares a cramped and no-frills (read: slightly rundown) apartment off of Union Square with her husband, her sister Pagan and her friend Sue, her connections and legacy still open doors. While she faces slights and snubs, Madeline handles things with her brand of grace and humor. I found Cornelia Reed's description of old prep school friendships especially effective and added to my appreciation and understanding of Madeline. Madeline's sense of justice also comes across well in Invisible Boy; she is willing to face all sorts of risks to bring Teddy Underhill's killers to justice.Overall, I liked enjoyed Invisible Boy. This third story reveals more of Madeline Dare's history and personality, which works to her advantage.ISBN-10: 044651134X - Hardcover $24.99Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 30, 2010), 432 pages.Review copy provided by the publisher.

  • Caitlin
    2019-05-01 22:36

    How did I miss this author before now?I picked this up because I liked the cover and the plot sounded like it had potential. It wasn't quite what I expected, but that's okay because it was really enjoyable. Our intrepid heroine, Madeline Dare (what a great name) is a kind of Nora Charles sort of character - very classy and sassy. I enjoyed her and her friends enormously.The mystery at the center, the death of a small boy, isn't really a whodunit or a whydunit - it's more of a youknowwhodunitnowdealwithit. Everyone here is pretty well fleshed out and the bad guys aren't quite the bad guys that they might be seem even though they're definitely bad guys.It's fun to watch Madeline trying to sort out her life now that she's in a phase where she's married and away from school and working and figuring out who she is as an adult. Her dilemmas are believable and her tragedies are very real.Crisp snappy writing, good plotting, interesting characters. I'm going to find the rest of Ms. Read's books!

  • Peggy Walker
    2019-05-26 23:31

    I just got a new library card and raided the "new" mysteries shelf. This is evidently part of a series of novels featuring Madeline Dare...a one-time debutante with a very dysfunctional family background. She blames a great deal of it on being raised mainly in California. Honey, dysfunctional families live everywhere. I have to disagree with most of the reviewers. Everyone in the book is incredibly foul-mouthed. Everyone (except maybe the police investigator) uses drugs frequently. I found many of the characters really off-putting, and didn't feel the others were well-enough developed. She threw red herrings around like confetti and didn't really explain or tie off any of the many, many loose ends. WAY too many vague references to past exploits no doubt the subject of previous books. The abrupt ending made me think she just got tired of writing this story, but she planted the seeds for the next book......which I will be skipping.

  • Jo Anne
    2019-05-12 00:23

    After her first two books, I was looking forward to Read's latest -- disappointing. In comparison to her previous works, the main plot was lacking. And, the subplots were grossly underdeveloped and questionable as to why she bothered to include them. At times, Read even managed to push her protagonist, Madeline, beyond edgy into unlikeable – sad to see. Hope this book is an anomaly and not the start of a trend.

  • Kyle Kerr
    2019-05-02 01:16

    This book didn't know what it wanted to be. It started as New York bitchy, then shifted to sad and sappy, and finished off as a courtroom drama. I liked the main character (I had no idea this was a series character), but found some of her motivation lacking. Interesting read but could've used some better storyline editing.

  • Alena
    2019-05-08 00:30

    I did not realize this was part of a series when I picked up at the library. I will not be reading the others. Just a sad book. I think it is supposed to be deep and moving, and maybe for many people other than me. Not my type of book.

  • Chris
    2019-05-23 00:32

    Although I found her previous two books entertaining, this one is awful..... shallow characters, stilted conversations, pointless unrelenting "bad" language and use of recreational drugs were tiresome. It felt like a desperate attempt to make the characters "hip". I got to 130 pages and gave up.

  • Sara
    2019-05-15 02:24

    Awesome book-can't wait for her next-at least, I hope she has a next. Read lets us question who we are and where we come from in this one. I can't believe she left us hanging w/ Madeline's news to Dean....

  • Jen
    2019-04-30 03:26

    Didn't realize this was third in a series with the same protagonist..the book stands on its own but I felt like I was missing a few things. Overall, it was ok..not as powerful or emotional as I was expecting. And I thought a lot of the dialogue sounded phony.

  • Rosalind
    2019-05-18 22:25

    Purchased this from the BN discounted section for 4.98 and still brought it back for a refund! Awful many times does one need to say f**k? Scattered sentences, idiotic characters....could not get beyond 50 pages.

  • Karen Hall
    2019-05-10 23:40

    While I thought THE CRAZY SCHOOL was extraordinarily good, a favorite of last year, this one didn't do it for me. The protagonist uses so much bad language that it was hard for me to read it, and I'm far from prudish. It simply distracted me too much from the action.

  • Julie
    2019-05-10 23:38

    Love this author. Can't wait for more.

  • Kathy Davie
    2019-05-23 21:32

    Who knew? Turns out this is the third installment in the Madeline Dare…um, police procedural? series with this story set in New York City in 1990. I hadn't realized this was part of a series. To be honest, I can't imagine why anyone would want to read more about Madeline as I found her whiny and immature. I want to say it's a mystery, but it's not. The only mystery was who the boy was and that was quickly determined. It certainly was a no-brainer as to who did it.My TakeWhat it is, is a fictional account of a woman at odds with her heritage, a clear view of the class she belongs to without the money to back her being in it, a clear if somewhat idealistic view of the world, and a strong sense of poor-me self. It's when Madeline finds the skeleton of a little boy, the ribs bashed in, in an old and neglected family cemetery in the middle of New York City that triggers her thoughts on how people treat each other and brings back memories of her childhood. It is a great example of how to avoid the dreaded info dump.The start is a crack-up and a very dramatic introduction to Madeline's views on a class of society that is incredibly self-indulgent with an overweening sense of entitlement."'You!' Poke. 'Need!' Poke. 'To change!" Poke-poke. 'Your goddamn attitude!' PokepokePOKEpoke.…'And you … need to change your goddamn medication.'"There are bits of fun in Invisible Boy, but mostly it's a descent into the daughters' resignation about their mother's attitude and lifestyle choices; their repressed frustration over their parents and the lack of money growing up; their anger and disbelief over the over-entitled class to which they, technically, belong; and, Madeline's frustration over social services, family stupidity, and the justice system.It's also an exploration of liberal versus conservative. It's funny in some respects and incredibly angry-fying in others. Yes, I made that word up, and it's how I feel. Christoph and his employees are, ugh, such Neanderthals about anyone outside their class who embrace a different point of view, and they believe women have their place. So condescending."'Jesus, Dean, you married a feminazi?''Beats a Republicunt.'"Be warned, there's plenty of swearing in this. Makes me look a piker in the blue language department. And it doesn't impress me. The language sounds overworked, more like she's cussing for effect, right along with her family and coworkers. And for all the poor-mouthing she does, Madeline and her friends sure do eat out a lot. I can't blame Madeline for her attitude to the rich bitches who obsess about their food intake while popping pills to deal with their boredom. I wanna tell 'em to get a life. Do something meaningful. And yet I don't see Madeline doing anything meaningful until she discovers Teddy's skeleton. She's more concerned about her soap box than reality as Dean points out later in the story.The numbers about missing people and murders are grim. The truth about who does most of the abuse to children is worse: people not related to the child but who live in the house. Stepfathers and -mothers, boyfriends or girlfriends of the biological parent. Oh, stranger-danger still exists, but it's minuscule compared to "trusted ones"."'So what did you want to be?''Same thing as now, Batman.''How's that working out?''Three more boxtops, they're mailing my cape.'It's a bit odd that Madeline was so concerned about protecting children even when she was a kid but never knew about what happened to her younger sister. It's sad that women and children were being abused back when she was a child; it's sadder still that it still goes on. And for all her protectiveness, she's clueless and unable to step up to help her friend, Astrid. God knows there were enough signals."'In your non-expert opinion''Yes sir, in my non-expert opinion. Not least because that foliage had been untouched since the mid-nineteen fifties.''Despite the considerable homeless population known to camp inside the cemetery?''…they seemed to have done a great deal more camping than gardening.'"I don't buy the interaction between Maddie and Skwarecki either. I can't imagine a real cop giving away so much information or allowing so much two-way interaction. As much as I'd love to believe a cop would worry enough to sleep over if I were threatened — especially if he's cute, ahem — it doesn't ring true.Why is it that women can't leave a man who treats them like crap? Who treats their children like crap? I don't get that. "A good marriage is when you know the other person will always make sure you have a place in the lifeboat."It's an interesting tale, even if I can't stand the main character. I think it's a real-life perspective on family and living and interacting in New York.The StoryAn interest in her family's past takes Madeline out to an abandoned family cemetery — in Queens. It's what she finds in the jungle-like growth that will take Madeline on a journey through the court system as she struggles to find justice for a sweet young boy.The CharactersMadeline "Bunny" Dare is answering phones at The Catalog, frustrated after having been a staff writer in Syracuse. Dean Dare is her six-foot, five-inch unemployed carpenter-farmboy husband frustrated over the lack of work. Pagan Ludlam is her younger sister and assistant photo editor at The Catalog and a flatmate along with Sue, a friend from boarding school days. Trace is their half-brother living with his dad in Oahu. Mom, Constance, is "psychocompetitive on the water" and flits from man to man. Michael was one stepfather; Pierce Capwell was another, an abusive bully when the girls were young. He despised Madeline, lucky girl. Larry McCormack, retired from the nuclear energy business, is the latest.Cate Ludlam is a newfound cousin with her own passion: clearing a long-forgotten family cemetery in Jamaica, a middle-class neighborhood in Queens. Mrs Van Nostrad was one of the searchers with the Quakers.Astrid "Nutty Buddy" Niro-de-Barile is/was her best friend from their boarding school days. Supposedly she's from a titled background, but they clicked back then. And had each other's backs. Antonini is an Italian boyfriend who took off for Europe, so she jumped into marriage with Christoph, her new husband who owns a company in New Jersey that imports machines from Switzerland. Madeline reckons it's tragic that her friend is "the single most exquisite human being" and brilliant. Vincent Taliaferro is Dean's boss. Camilla was their snotty fellow boarding school student.The policeDetective Jayné Skwarecki goes beyond the call of duty and cares. Officer Fergus Albie is the "babysitter" whom I don't think has been on the job for too long.Louise Wilson Bost is an assistant district attorney for the Borough of Queens and dresses to the nines. Kyle West, is an old friend from school and a special prosecutor in Special Victims.Teddy Underhill was three years old the day he died. Angela is Elsie's great-granddaughter and Teddy's mother. Albert Williams is the boyfriend. Dougie and Donald are his buddies, and they were raised by Teddy's great-grandmother, Elsie Underhill. Angela's mother, Alicia, Elsie's daughter, was shot to death by her boyfriend, Butchie. Ms. Keller, an ER nurse, was Angela's neighbor in Brooklyn; she called in on a line for mandated reporters. Marty Hetzler is Angela's attorney; Galloway is Albert's. Judge Malcolm Arthur is presiding over the trial in Queens.One example was of "Her psycho-crackhead-lawyer boyfriend Joel Steinberg beat their illegally adopted daughter Lisa … and … [Hedda] Nussbaum didn't do a thing about it…"The Catalog is……a company that sells books from publishers via telephone (this is pre-Internet days and pre-cellphone!) Yong Sun, Yumiko, Tracy, and Karen are her fellow phone order-takers. Betty is the owner's ex-wife but retains enough influence to come in and slap 'em all around. I think Granta is part of the organization, but I don't know what it does.The CoverThe cover is appropriate with its graveyard of tombstones against a backdrop of the New York skyline. I'm guessing that the overgrown jungle that practically hid the cemetery from view wasn't tidy enough for the cover. The grays, however, are very appropriate as they suit the tone of this story. One of gloom and a depressive look at family and social services.The title is about Teddy Underhill, the Invisible Boy while he was alive and in the newspapers after he was dead.

  • Marli
    2019-05-24 21:31

    Great main characterThis is the first book I have read by this author and I fell hard for Madeline from page one. The story was funny and sad and moving but there really was no resolution to anything. Lots of descriptive and pointless deaths, but definitely no happy ending. Loved loved loved the wedding toast!

  • Tory
    2019-04-28 20:38

    if sitting alone on sunday afternoon were a crayon, it would be burnt sienna.listening to chaka khan, bronski beat...and aural jay mcinerney.The book left me confused. What was up with astrid? did the last chapter explain why mom turned a blind eye?

  • Terri Colangelo
    2019-05-16 02:36

    Rated 7.5 out of 10. Fast moving, grim whodunnit set in early 1990s NYC. The protagonist is a quick thinking, sharp tongued young woman who longs for justice upon the death of a 3 yr old boy.

  • Cathy Cole
    2019-05-04 00:41

    First Line: So here's what I love about New York City: if someone acts like a dumb asshole and you call them on acting like a dumb asshole, the bystanders are happy about it.If you read that first sentence of Invisible Boy above, you probably already know whether or not you like the main character, Madeline Dare. And since I'm admitting that I love Cornelia Read's smart alecky character with a big, big heart, I've undoubtedly just admitted a lot about myself. So be it.It's the early 1990s. Madeline and her husband have survived the Rust Belt and find themselves sharing a small apartment with friends in New York City. Maddie finds a job with little trouble, but it takes Dean a while to land a job with the husband of Astrid, one of Maddie's closest friends.When Madeline agrees to help a relative resurrect an old family cemetery in Queens, she discovers the tiny skeleton of a badly abused three-year-old boy. Determined that justice be served, Madeline keeps in touch with police throughout the investigation and is a witness for the prosecution during the trial.As the weeks go by, she finds herself examining her own life as well as the class and racial warfare that's being waged on the streets of New York City. Every step of the way she is helped by a colorful assortment of relatives, old friends and new acquaintances. Each one of these people represent an ingredient in the melting pot that is the City of New York.I normally pigeonhole each book I review firmly within a subgenre, but once in a great while, I find myself inventing one because the book doesn't fit any of the existing ones. I call Invisible Boy "Noir-With-a-Heart" because Cornelia Read herself says that she writes noir. My take on "noir" has more to do with tough-talking private eyes who bed a different woman every night than it has to do with smart-mouthed softie Madeline Dare. Eh. While we're on the subject, why don't we just dispense with labels and say Invisible Boy is one damned fine piece of writing? Works for me!This book basically is a slice of a few months of Madeline Dare's life from shortly before she discovers a child's skeleton in an old cemetery, through the ensuing police investigation, until the verdict is given at the end of the trial. During these weeks and months, we learn a great deal about Maddie, the types of people she surrounds herself with, and how Maddie views and participates in the world around her. We yawn a little while Maddie is at work, and we laugh more than a little when a defense attorney asks her how she got to be so good at stumbling over dead bodies. But more than anything else, we come to realize that this isn't just about a tiny abused boy named Teddy who spent much of his three years on earth in fear and pain. This book, this Invisible Boy, is really about all the world's betrayed children who have no one to speak for them.As you read the prosecuting attorney's closing statement, have a box of tissues at hand. Your heart will break. Yes... Invisible Boy made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me sick, and it made me angry. It is indeed Noir with a Heart.

  • Samantha
    2019-05-24 00:22

    Heroine Madeline Dare is definitely an acquired taste. One I have to re-acquire each time I pick up a Cornelia Read book. Each time I start one, I find Madeline slightly obnoxious and almost too much to take, but by the end, I always go back to wanting her to be my best friend. This book was different from the first two Madeline Dare books. It isn't REALLY a mystery, because we know almost immediately who the killer is; it's more like social commentary on the trial of the culprits and how Madeline fits in to the situation and relates it back to her own life. The last of that seems to be what this book was really about. Rather than a mystery solved by Madeline, this time the murder was just the backdrop for a whole novel's worth of exposition on Madeline: Past, Present, Future. This isn't to say I minded this shift in gears by the author, just that it wasn't what I was expecting. Much tragedy befalls Madeline in this book, and the more we learn about her past, the more it seems that her whole life has been like this. It's compelling, but it also gets a little too heavy, particularly when juxtaposed with the snappy, witty dialogue which Read writes so wonderfully and which makes Maddie and those in her orbit so likable. I waffled between three and four stars and ultimately went with three for a couple of reasons: First, that stifling, tragic heaviness previously mentioned. Next, some seriously unlikely plot threads. Would the police REALLY allow a witness to search a crime scene for a homicide? Supervised by a detective or not, this is ridiculous. This was set in 1990, not 1790. Forensics have come a long way even in the last 25 years, but modern police procedure for a murder scene was established well before then. Finally, Dean really bugs me. I get that we're supposed to think he's a wonderful husband, and this isn't to say he's a bad one, but the man is far from without flaws. BIG ones, in my opinion. I also didn't understand the last chapter at this setting up for the next book? Or was there some subtle but important meaning regarding Maddie and her mother's relationship that I didn't pick up on, aside from the obvious? I'm still eager to get to the fourth book in the series. All problems with the narrative aside, I'll probably never tire of reading about Madeline and her exploits.

  • Heather
    2019-05-26 19:31

    The story this book is trying to flesh out is incredibly interesting and has so much potential, but I feel like the author is trying too hard in the book to give her characters realistic emotions and experiences and bring out complex themes that she actually just comes off as literally "trying too hard."I had a really hard time liking Madeline enough to care what happens to her. She's all edgy one minute and the next, she's bursting into tears over something she isn't involved in enough to care so much about. I understand completely that thinking of a three-year-old child's abuse-filled existence is heart-wrenching for sure, but I really thought her reactions were so over the top that I couldn't really pin down her character well enough to carry that impression to the next scene.Someone on the back of the book described the dialogue as spot-on, but I really didn't see that either. Maybe I don't understand what it's like to be Madeline enough to realize it, but part of me feels like it's the author's job to put me square in Madeline's shoes: a job which I feel the author never lives up to.I know the author is also trying to bring in themes of race and prejudice, but I wasn't really feeling that either. It was terribly forced, with Madeline talking about how guilty she felt being white: I understand where she was trying to go with that, but it didn't feel natural to me. We all feel horrible about how black people were treated 50+ years ago, but I don't feel guilt simply because people with the same color skin as me took it upon themselves to be bigots and racists. I also don't feel that the author fully expressed this theme adequately, and I also felt like she was giving her main character too many undeveloped facets.I'm giving this book three stars because although I really struggled to get through this book because of the characters and her awkward writing style, I did think the story itself was interesting. I just wish the author would have shifted her focus from broad, yet underdeveloped, themes to the more necessary and relatable nuts and bolts of the characters themselves. Maybe I'm missing something here, but I feel that the author did not capture a succinct picture of the character well enough to make me care about her.

  • Alison Hardtmann
    2019-05-22 03:24

    Cornelia Read's first book, The Field of Darkness, told the story of Madeline Dare, failed debutante, now living with her husband in Syracuse, New York, who stumbles onto an old, unsolved murder in which a relative is mentioned and decides to solve it herself. It reads like a grown-up Nancy Drew mystery, with the heroine grasping for clues, stumbling into dangerous situations she doesn't understand and discovering too late that not everything has a happy ending.In the sequel, The Crazy School, she and Dean have moved out to a small town where she takes a teaching job at a facility for delinquent youths. She wants to be the cool teacher; she's younger than the other faculty members and she shares cigarettes and trades profanities with her students. But it's unclear whether she's getting through to the kids or is being manipulated by one of them.What makes Madeline Dare such a good protagonist is that she makes mistakes and misses stuff, but has a good heart. She also seems like she'd be fun to hang out with. She loses some of that approachability in Read's newest novel, Invisible Boy. Madeline's traded her out-spoken nature for brashness and one-up-manship. And since she has the author on her side, she gets all the zingers while her opposition stutters impotently. The story follows Madeline, now living in NYC, as she finds the skeleton of a child in an abandoned cemetery she's helping to clean up. The murdered child is quickly identified, as are the perpetrators. We then follow Madeline as she interacts with her family and old friends, as well as following the case of the little boy as it grinds its way slowly through the criminal justice system.Invisible Boy is a reasonably good read, I just long for the return of the real Madeline Dare.

  • Carol
    2019-05-21 23:34

    Madeline Dare comes from a family with a knock-out genealogy but not a lot of cash. She and her husband move to New York and are scrambling to make ends meet. Madeline runs into a distant cousin who is working on restoring a small family cemetery. Madeline agrees to help, and while removing undergrowth and bagging trash, stumbles across a small skeleton.The skeleton is far more recent than the rest of the older graves, and they call in the cops. It's a child's skeleton and it's clear he has been repeatedly abused. Relatively quickly, the murderer of the boy becomes apparent: the abuse came at the hands of his drug-addicted mother and her boyfriend. At this point the novel morphs into courtroom drama, with the central suspense revolving around whether the defendants will be convicted or not.I enjoyed this latest installment in the Madeline Dare series primarily because I get a kick out of the author's voice and irreverent style. But this book was not quite as good as previous books for a couple of reasons: (1) identifying the perpetrators so early in the book takes a lot of dramatic tension out of the plot and for me, the question of whether they will be convicted or not was not compelling enough to keep me on the edge of my seat; (2) I am not as big a fan of courtroom drama so this kind of book appeals to me less (it was not typical of other books in this series and some parts seem like a trial transcript); (3) there were too many loose minor plotlines that get abandoned or short shrift -- e.g. much is made of Madeline's college friend Astrid in the first part of the book, but the plotline is never really resolved emotionally but rather is abruptly dealt with toward the end, almost as an afterthought; her sister reveals that she's been molested as a child, but again, this ends up not really adding much to the novel; and so on.