September 20, 2012

Review: Hanging by a Thread

Hanging by a Thread by Sophie Littlefield

Summer is the best part of the year in Winston, California, and the Fourth of July is the highlight of the season. But the perfect town Clare remembers has changed, and everyone is praying that this summer will be different from the last two—that this year's Fourth of July festival won't see one of their own vanish without a trace, leaving no leads and no suspects. The media are in a frenzy predicting a third disappearance, but the town depends on tourist dollars, so the residents of Winston are trying desperately to pretend nothing's wrong.

And they're not the only ones hiding something.

Clare, a seamstress who redesigns vintage clothing, has been blessed—or perhaps cursed—with a gift: she can see people's pasts when she touches their clothes. When she stumbles across a denim jacket that once belonged to Amanda Stavros, last year's Fourth of July victim, Clare sees her perfect town begin to come apart at the seams.

In a town where appearance means everything, how deep beneath the surface will Clare dig to uncover a murderer?


After moving back to the small town Clare grew up in, she starts a small business selling her refashioned clothing with her childhood friend and typical popular girl, Rachel. Rachel tries to make sure that Clare fits into her new life, but Clare still feels the challenge of maintaining a balance between her individuality and fitting in when her style and family history cause her to stand out. Her family home is often thought to be haunted by others due to the murder of Clare’s great-great grandmother. The events on the day of the murder left her great-grandmother with a special gift that Clare’s grandmother and Clare inherited. When Clare touches an article of clothing she can often get vision of things that happened while it was worn. The more violent an action committed by the wearer, the more intense the vision is for Clare as well as the drive for justice.

The first sense we get for Clare’s gift was when she touched the fabric on Jack’s shirt. Jack is the town bad boy with a dark past who catches Clare’s eye. As time goes by Clare also learns there may be more to his connection with town deaths, but as they grow closer Clare can’t help but be drawn to him.

As the date approaches the anniversary of the deaths, Clare learns things about those around her that bring up suspicion that danger is a lot closer to her. While I don’t want to give away more about the mystery this is a kind of cliche ‘girl with special gift solves crime no one else can and saves the day’ story not all that different from the likes of The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting.

The one aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was the amount of detail that went into describing Clare’s clothing and other refashioned items. I love doing crafts and art projects so I have an appreciation for the visual side. At times though it seemed like more went into the descriptions of clothes than the mystery plot. All in all I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a good mystery read.


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  3. Sounds like it was a very enjoyable book, and I'm with you, I don't usually read mysteries for the same reason but it Claire sounds like someone I would like too.

    I'll try to check it out. :D

    grace of Skagway


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