The Day I Died was Murder Among Friends (MAF)’s second book by Lori Rader-Day. Our first observation about this, was how remarkable it is that with four books published so far, she has been both a multiple award nominee and winner for Every. Single. Book. This is an accomplishment that may not have been achieved by any other mystery/suspense writer.
So we come to this discussion with high expectations – and for the most part, these were solidly met. If there was one detriment for some members, it was that Anna was difficult to like, and some of her actions seemed implausible. A couple of people found her to be too self-centered, while others countered that as a traumatized survivor of abuse, her decisions to keep running despite what it was doing to her son, was completely understandable, and that because she is showing signs of PTSD, it takes her a very long time to see what affect she’s having on Joshua. Once she does, she fully acknowledges that she needs to change and do better by Josh’s needs for stability and friends of his own.
We loved the handwriting analysis expertise idea, but a couple of us were unconvinced this would be something you could do as a job. We also talked about the possibility that Anna’s violent experience somehow enhanced her ability to do this analysis.
A lot of the discussion surrounded the events that led Anna to be on the run, and whether or not her perspective on her ex are accurate. As we took a look at her ex’s past and current actions, we saw that on balance, Anna’s beliefs were accurate. We’re unsure how she or Josh should proceed with any kind of relationship with him. With the hard-won support of the local sheriff, the two of them look like they’ll have back-up if the ex were to re-engage his anger-based abusive ways. And we definitely felt all visits with him should be supervised.
Given the history of Anna’s upbringing, and aspects that are revealed as the story progresses, we could fully understand why Anna is done with having anything to do with her father. And the fact that her ex helped her parents out, we saw as either a sincere effort to make up for what he did to Anna, or as a sly piece of good PR for him with the remaining town residents.
We also took a moment to send Lori the picture below to express our support for her Edgar nomination this year on Under a Dark Sky –which we will absolutely be considering for next year’s discussion book list! We also partook in some “ice cream” as a nod to Anna’s favorite eatery, The Dairy Bar. [Second picture]