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The Undoing


The Undoing

Five years ago, famed skier Julian Moss found his three friends, Celia, Rory and Eric, shot to death at the Blackbird Hotel, a charming but aging structure the trio was refurbishing. He has come back to Jawbone Ridge to take care of some old business, like putting the decrepit hotel out of its misery, along with himself. Since that fateful day those long years ago, he has carried a note that he snatched from the pillow by Celia Dark’s body. It read, “Julian, I know what you did.” Now the guilt has become too heavy a burden for him to bear.

What was it that Celia knew about Julian? For the answer to that, we have to look into the past. So the story goes back in time, back to when Celia was growing up with her stepbrother Rory and their friend Eric. The three of them always seemed inseparable. In fact, disturbingly so. So much that there were rumors flying around town. But if Celia cared about what people said, she never let on. She, Rory and Eric did as they pleased, despite disapproving whispers and shocked expressions.

"Averil Dean is an engaging and intriguing writer. Whatever you think of Celia, Rory, Eric, Julian and Kate, once you’ve opened THE UNDOING, you’ll be hooked."

The Blackbird had been as much a part of their lives as each other, so when Eric got the idea to purchase the crumbling hotel and restore it, what could be more fitting for the three of them? That’s about the time that Julian got involved with them, becoming nearly as obsessed with Celia as the other men in her life, much to the displeasure of his girlfriend Kate. Oddly, though, sometime after Celia and the two guys died, Kate took over the restoration of the hotel and Julian lost track of her. The killings put a stop to a lot of things. Murder has a way of doing that.

So who killed the three friends, or did someone choreograph their murders? In truth, the relationship among them might have foretold their ultimate demise, as though there could be no other outcome. Jealousies, desires, betrayals --- no one can ignore them forever. Was it love between them, or was it something else, something more sinister? Celia, Rory and Eric are gone now. What remains is to understand why things turned so violent that cold, snowy day, what triggered the events that caused the deaths of three vibrant young people, and how, after the passage of so many years, the past has come back to push Julian literally over the edge.

THE UNDOING showcases the manner in which emotions can translate into actions. We know that friendships transform over the ages, but sometimes that happens in fatally dangerous ways. The interactions among all of the book’s characters is fascinating, if maddening, to watch. I will note that, because of their deep flaws, I found it difficult to like any of them. And because of their disregard for the norms of society, what might be described by some as forbidden love went beyond that and became ugly. To a degree, the ending did seem inevitable while at the same time surprising. Does that make sense? Maybe you should read the book and answer that for yourself.

One thing is for sure: Averil Dean is an engaging and intriguing writer. Whatever you think of Celia, Rory, Eric, Julian and Kate, once you’ve opened THE UNDOING, you’ll be hooked.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 8, 2016

The Undoing
by Averil Dean