The Second Crack, by Chelo Diaz-Ludden, is a thrilling read, keeping the reader on edge until the final page.
One week before Christmas, Anne is excited that her twin sister, Suz, will be visiting. Anne, owner of The Bean, a coffee shop in Portland, Oregon, is passionate about her business and coffee. The city has proposed building an on-ramp, threatening The Bean’s quiet atmosphere. Suz returns from South Africa to support Anne’s fight.
The day after Suz arrives, she’s missing. Anne can’t remember everything that happened the night before since the twins were celebrating Suz’s return by drinking copious amounts of wine. Anne, with the aid of her brother and father, search for Suz, but to no avail. The police, Anne, and a private investigator can’t figure it out. Desperate, Anne hacks her twin’s laptop searching for clues. What will she find?
This isn’t the type of novel that forces the reader to keep up with a fast and furious pace. Instead, the story slowly unfolds, yet the author never lets the tale lag. Bits and pieces are dropped for the hungry reader in such a delicate way, it’s like watching a painter fill a canvas. Not once does the reader want to rush the artist, instead they appreciate every moment. Diaz-Ludden has the ability of transforming mundane aspects into extraordinary.
What unfolds is not just a mystery, but a story of one family. Their triumphs and tragedies. The twins have a strong bond. They even share the name, Suzanne. But something has damaged this bond and the fissure is the key to the whole story. Not only does the reader crave to know what happened to Suz, they cheer for the sisters and the family to become whole once again. Or as whole as they can be, considering life always leaves its marks on people.
My thumb pad rests along the crack in the porcelain that’s been filled in with gold, a Japanese tradition that honors past wounds. I think that if people were repaired the same way; foreheads etched with brass hairline fractures, chips of silver embedded along fingers, bolts of gold shot through hearts, then we would know the places to be careful with.
The ending comes as a surprise at first, but then there’s a moment when it all makes sense and it was crystal clear from the beginning. The issue is most of us don’t want to see what is right in front of us because it scares us. What cracks have Anne and Suz suffered? Anne is wise enough to see them, but is she brave enough to scrutinize her own cracks to see what they really reveal? And she has to explore her twin’s past by reading her journal. Delving into someone’s private thoughts can reveal things that are best unsaid, no matter how strong the relationship.
Anne has to push past her fear and confront her own demons to help her sister. It’s a testament to how much she loves her sister, and at the same time the biggest piece of the puzzle. What caused the cracks?
The Second Crack is a gripping and beautifully written story.