began the series with Bonne Femme, a tale all about obsession. Richard's all-consuming obsession
with protecting Jill, and his nemesis Mic's obsession with violent sexual fantasy. Each of the stories since has paired conflicting
obsessions. Richard is continually obsessed. (Add OCD to his apparent but undiagnosed PTSD
and depression?) This story too continues is that vein.
Every story is about people and relationships. Whether it is set in the mythical past,
the gritty present, a post-doomsday dystopia, a distant galaxy, or in some fantasy world peopled with strange, wonderful,
and terrifying beings. To be effective, the story must speak to us in terms we understand—actually, it must speak of
us. In the daughter, there are several important relationships, those of Shara McGregor
(the missing girl), of her mother Okinawa, of their friend and benefactor Willis
Sparkes, and (of course) those of the Carter family and friends. In this tenth story, Marta Florez,
Jill's friend (from Bonne Femme) returns.
About the title: we only see Shara through the eyes of her friends and acquaintances, along
with Richard's idealized image of her. His too-vivid imagination of her stems from empathy. He has a daughter too.
The motive of the criminal in The
Daughter seems clear enough from the start. The only task then is to discover the culprit. However, as any experienced cop
can tell you, knowing "who done it" and proving it are two different things. So the story moves to the courtroom
The Daughter is a puzzle right to
the end. It is not a crossword to work though. Neither is it a jigsaw puzzle to fit together. It is a hand puzzle, the sort
that seems to come together suddenly as if of its own accord.