Book Review: The Bullet – Mary Louise Kelly

Title: The Bullet
Author: Mary Louise Kelly
ISBN: 9781476769837
Pages: 384
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Mystery
Source: Publisher


Caroline Cashion is settled into her job as a professor in the French department at Georgetown University. She enjoys her solitary life and is thoroughly content with the way her things have turned out. But then, in one moment, everything changes: doctors discover a bullet lodged at the base of Catherine’s skull. It’s been there for quite awhile, but Catherine has never been shot: How did that bullet get there? What secrets have been kept from her?


I picked up The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly on a whim; I wanted something intriguing, a mystery or thriller that would keep me hooked. I’d tried a few other books that just weren’t keeping my interest, so I didn’t have high expectations for this novel I’d barely registered in my head. But from the very first pages of this well-written mystery novel, I knew I was in for a real treat.

The premise of The Bullet may seem like the introduction to a crazy, twisty thriller, and it is in some ways. But what I appreciated most about this story was how introspective it was. This isn’t an action novel—though plot is important, it is, first and foremost, character driven. This book is about Catherine and the way she reacts to and processes information that turns her world upside down. She’s not always rational and she doesn’t always make the best decisions—but you can see her trying to adjust to each piece of information she comes across, even when they feel like physical blows. The characterization in this novel, for both major and minor characters, is excellent.

It’s rare that I’m surprised by a novel, especially a mystery. I’ve read so many that I can predict the plot and guess the ending on a pretty predictable basis. It’s not so much that I couldn’t guess the ending of The Bullet; it’s that I didn’t even care to try. I enjoyed the experience of being drawn into this book so much that I didn’t want to know what was going to happen. I luxuriated in just reading it and watching it unfold before me. It’s rare to experience a book like that, and it’s nice when it comes in an unexpected package like this great little book.

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