The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly


The entire time I was reading The Bullet, I kept thinking, “This is just too good to be true.” It almost was, but the last fifty pages or so proved my original sentiment to be correct. The concluding chapters were just not what I had expected, and not in a good way. Something about the twisty conclusion doesn’t sit right with me; perhaps because the narrator’s actions in the latter part of the novel do not exactly mesh with the type of character that she had so meticulously been established to be.

Caroline Cashion is a self-described “spinster.” Thirty-seven years old and single, Caroline is a French Literature professor at a prestigious university who loves her job and her family. This all comes crashing down, however, when a routine medical scan reveals a bullet precariously nested just below her skull. Caroline has no memory of having been shot, so she confronts her parents. Predictably, Caroline learns that her entire life is a lie. The people that she thought were her parents adopted her when she was three following the murder of her biological parents. The bullet that went through her mother is now residing in her neck. Caroline is horrified, but it only gets worse when she learns that the murderer was never apprehended. Caroline sets out to single-handedly solve the mystery.

I’m getting sick of these thrillers where the protagonist can solve a mystery that has eluded trained investigators and detectives for years. I know that it is commonplace for the genre, I am just increasingly annoyed by it. That issue aside, I was completely on board with The Bullet until Caroline started playing vigilante heroine. It wasn’t convincing behavior for the character, and it only increased my ever-growing discontent with the plot. The Bullet was so close to being good, but, as I had feared, it merely falls into the category of mehhh.

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