Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod

Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod

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by Maria Flook

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A literary investigation by "one of the most powerful American writers at work today" [Annie Proulx] of a story that riveted the nation: how an accomplished, world-traveled fashion writer who had retreated to a simpler life as a single mother on Cape Cod became the victim of a brutal, still-unsolved murder.

On the surface, Christa


A literary investigation by "one of the most powerful American writers at work today" [Annie Proulx] of a story that riveted the nation: how an accomplished, world-traveled fashion writer who had retreated to a simpler life as a single mother on Cape Cod became the victim of a brutal, still-unsolved murder.

On the surface, Christa Worthington’s life had the appearance of privilege and comfort. She was the granddaughter of prominent New Yorkers. Her sparkling journalism earned the fashion world’s respect. But she had turned her back on a glamorous career and begun living in the remote Cape Cod town where she had summered as a child. When she was found murdered in Truro, Massachusetts, just after New Year’s Day in 2002, her toddler daughter clinging to her side, her violent death brought to the surface the many unspoken mysteries of her life.

Invisible Eden is the deeply felt story of a career woman's attempt to start over and reinvent her life away from the fashion circles of New York and Paris only to have an out-of-wedlock child with a local fisherman, forge a life as a single mother, and meet a violent end. Brilliantly portraying Christa’s hunger for belonging and her struggle for survival as a first-time mother, Flook searingly evokes her search for a safe haven, her many tumultuous relationships, and the evidence linking family, strangers, lovers, suspects, and innocents to the tragedy that both shocked a seaside town on Cape Cod and horrified the nation. Flook intricately maps Christa's charged life before her death and follows the first year of the murder investigation with the help of the district attorney who is in an election battle even as he searches for the killer. At the same time, Invisible Eden captures the Cape's haunted landscape, class stratifications, and never-ending battles between its weathy summer residents and its hardscrabble working families who together form a backdrop for a powerful chronicle of love and murder. An edgy and compelling portrait of a woman's tragic journey, Invisible Eden is a mesmerizing true story.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A chilling, compelling drama.” —Elle

The New York Times
… Flook writes shrewdly and often with exquisite care about the opposite worlds -- Cape Cod and fashion -- that were both nurturing and destructive to Christa Worthington. She understands the significance of mollusks in one environment and of tulle in the other, as well as the social hierarchies that prevail in each of these domains. — Julie Salamon
Publishers Weekly
In January 2002, 46-year-old fashion writer Crista Worthington was found stabbed to death on the floor of her cottage in Truro, Mass. Her curly-haired toddler, Ava, was nestled by her side. The murder traumatized Worthington's idyllic Cape Cod community and captured the attention of the national media. Here, Truro resident Flook (My Sister Life: The Story of My Sister's Disappearance) attempts to make literary sense of the tragic, downward spiral of Worthington. An attractive former Vassar girl and scion of a prominent local family, she left a glamorous career in New York (she also worked for WWD in Paris) to have an affair with a ruggedly handsome but very married fisherman and have his child. Flook, despite her lively writing, cannot solve the crime. "No one can understand the arc of the victim's life until her killer is ID'ed," writes Flook herself. Flook turns to terse Michael O'Keefe, the assistant district attorney responsible for the Worthington case, for insight and what can only be called local macho resonance. But his noncommittal investigative shop talk can't take the place of the truth. Most disappointing, the victim herself emerges as neither sympathetic nor compelling, a spoiled little rich girl who seems to care little for anyone except her daughter and herself. "The more we look at her, the uglier she gets," O'Keefe says of Worthington. Although Flook fleshes out various suspects, including Tony Jackett, the father of Worthington's child, and Tim Arnold, the spurned-lover-turned-friend who found Worthington's body. Flook seems to favor Arnold as the murderer, but who knows? This work will leave most readers with a sense of sadness and not much else. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When the press got word of noted fashion writer Christa Worthington's death last year, few outside the Cape Cod hamlet of Truro, MA knew of the tangled web of lovers, family strain, and personal struggles she had left behind. Although she was found stabbed on the floor of her family home, it was Worthington's pedigree and publishing success as well as the image of her baby daughter found clinging to her side that grabbed people's attention. A large variety of possible suspects (all with viable motives) has kept police tied to the still-pending investigation ever since. Yet, for Flook's story all of this is just background, her own motivation is a profound sympathy for Worthington herself. Trying to discover what led this talented and fast-paced career woman to move back home and have a baby, the Pushcart Prize-winner soon found herself immersed in the life of the victim. Interviewing suspects and the DA, Christa's friends from high-profile publications WWD and W and childhood companions from Truro, Flook pieces together the life of this now tragic figure with both impartiality and compassion. This is true crime with heart; a must read summer title for all libraries. Rachel Collins, "Library Journal" Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Chilling, edgy backgrounder on the high-profile 2002 murder of a fashion journalist. It was a nasty piece of work: 36 hours passed before a former lover entered Christa Worthington’s Cape Cod home and found her corpse, with her toddler daughter nursing at her breast. Such a lurid case has already attracted lots of coverage, but Flook applies to the tale a fine hand for characterization, whether spun out or pinched to a paragraph. The "piebald gymkhana" of suspects attains a prismatic quality, though sympathy is kept at arm’s length. The author doesn’t just scan those within the "orbit of opportunity" for killing Worthington, but all the denizens of Truro, Massachusetts, from the swamp Yankees to the parvenus with their trophy homes. Often mythologized as an artists’ colony, Truro is really "Nowheresville," claims crotchety poet and resident Alan Dugan, with its "wannabe artists, dilettantes, losers, pirates and profiteers, eccentrics and misfits." And novelist/memoirist Flook (My Sister Life, 1998, etc.), too: she lives in the town and quietly, appealingly insinuates herself into the story. Her clinically precise portrait limns Worthington as a gifted writer whose unusual style—part alchemy, part anthropology—set her apart in the world of "icy fashionistas and wage-war garmentos." But she was also a house-wrecker and a stalker; as the district attorney covering the case said, "The more we look at her, the uglier she gets." Flook remains, at least on the surface, nonjudgmental; she allows the characters to hang—or exonerate—themselves. She’s also very good on Truro’s landscape, the remoteness that’s kept the town charmed and protected, though it has its share ofnotorious history. Even her conjectures and color commentary have the grace of authority. A thoughtful, measured tone gives this tale of murder a sense of depth and reach, like a good poem.

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Crown Publishing Group
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Read an Excerpt


Cape and Islands First Assistant District Attorney Michael O'Keefe told me to meet him Saturday night. He had agreed to discuss the recent murder of forty-six-year-old fashion writer Christa Worthington, who was found dead on the kitchen floor of her seaside cottage, her toddler daughter nestled by her side. O'Keefe said, "We'll meet. We'll talk. We'll talk about how we keep our mouths shut." He agreed to sit down, but first he was taking me to the Mashpee Wampanoag Winter Ball at the Sons of Italy Lodge in Cotuit. O'Keefe was running for office and had to show up at these community spectacles. It helped to have a woman along.

O'Keefe had known Chief Vernon "Silent Drum" Lopez and medicine man Earl Cash, Jr., for a long time, but I'd never met the Wampanoag tribe officials. I knew that in 1620, the Pilgrims had their first encounter with Native Americans in Truro, the small town where I live. A group of half-starved English separatists, led by Miles Standish, pilfered the savages' stash of corn that was buried in a sand dune. It was a rustic caper, but I guess you can say it was the first B&E, or "breaking and entering" violation, perpetrated on Cape Cod by white men. Today, the little crime scene is called Corn Hill.

O'Keefe apologized for making me drive all the way up Route 6 on Suicide Alley, a tight two-lane highway that bisects the peninsula, famous for its long chronicle of head-ons. A lot of travelers avoid the bottleneck and turn around. O'Keefe said he didn't know why anyone with free will would choose to live way out on the tip.

The Cape Cod peninsula is like a flexed arm thrust into the sea. Truro is at its "wrist," and is only a mile wide at its most narrow site. The slender hook is the afterthought of the Wisconsin Stage glacier, a monstrous wall of ice ten thousand feet thick that shaped all of New England twenty-five thousand years ago. Today, the Outer Cape is still carved and remastered by tides, storm surges, waves, and wind. The Cape is a river of sand; the shoreline continually shifts and rebuilds its ridges. Backshore lagoons arise and disappear from one year to the next. The finial arm is always roaring and tingling, eroding three to six feet a year. All aspects of life this far out are evoked and controlled, atoned for or punished, by the sea. That's what I like about it.

But the Outer Cape has a chaotic, fiddlehead topography of dunes and swales that curl around in a spiral. Standing on the breakwater at Land's End, you can lose your sense of direction entirely. What is supposed to be due west is actually looking south, and northward could be east. A person living at the inverted tip has to let go of common sense, drop the reins and rely on intuition, especially in sea mists.

"Why do you live way out there, on that clam strip?" O'Keefe said.

"You mean Truro?"

"That wilderness. Why do you people go for that?"

You people could be Truro's movers and shakers, but more likely O'Keefe is referring to the Land's End losers, lost souls and drifters who wash ashore and pile up down here.

"I guess it's not for everybody," I said. O'Keefe's sentiments mirrored those of the Reverend James Freeman, who in 1790 wrote about Truro, "What could induce any person to remain in such a place?" Even today, many people think that the Outer Cape is a "no man's land," "a god-forsaken wasteland," or "a situation so completely removed from the stir of society," as Emily Bront' writes in Wuthering Heights. Even Thoreau was appalled by the Outer Cape, and wrote of Truro, "We shuddered at the thought of living there" and "The walker there must soon eat his heart."

But for us it's Eden. It's heaven on earth. In fact, at the end of the selectmen's annual report filed in 1982, it was written, "The Board of Selectmen shall continue to make every effort to seek ways to keep Truro the Garden of Eden of Massachusetts." But I wasn't going to try to convert O'Keefe. I was getting used to his jabs.

In the summer, I like to swim in the Pamet River across from Depot Road, Christa's street. I like it when the tide turns and the water seems to percolate with indecision—its crystal surface becomes chaotic and crosshatched—is it coming or going? From my side of the tidal river, I had often seen young mothers with their kids. On sunny afternoons, a row of beach umbrellas blooms on the beach across the inlet. As the day advances, one by one these tilts are plucked and carried away. One of these gaudy pinwheels might have been Christa's.

Police have estimated that Worthington's body had not been discovered for thirty-six hours. Left unattended all that time, the little girl was found snuggled beside her mother, nursing. The police found evidence that the toddler had tried to help. A bloodied facecloth was neatly folded across the victim's forehead, and beside the body, they found the baby's weighted Tippee Cup that Ava had tried to offer to her mother.

The event of a murder in our small community was never expected. There hadn't been a murder in Truro for thirty years. Truro is renowned for its stunning wilderness, its remoteness, its quiet. In a recent issue of Men's Journal, Truro was placed near the top of the list in their survey "Fifty Best Places to Live." The article noted that one reason for its charmed status is that Truro is just about "invisible. And it means to stay that way." No such luck, when, for instance, one summer, Air Force One helicopters swooped in to deliver Vice President Al Gore and his family at a summer retreat. And Hollywood celebrates "invisible" Truro as the ideal bucolic spot in its blockbuster movies Men in Black and Men in Black II. In both these films, our small town is depicted as home and haven for Tommy Lee Jones's character, who flees violence and alien threats and returns here to become the "Truro postmaster." As absurd as that might be, before Christa's death was discovered on January 6, a murder in our town would have seemed even a further stretch.

Christa Worthington, the one-time Women's Wear Daily dynamo turned single mom, was a high-profile victim. Her killing presented instant contradictions; it crossed boundary lines within the small insular society of Truro, which had always seemed charmed and protected, like a village in a snow globe. Incongruent hitches emerged in a hodgepodge. Christa's chic CV, her Yankee credentials, and patrician lifestyle had become enmeshed with the Outer Cape's blue-collar mystique of mariner traditions, rogue sailors, lady-killers, and one local legend in particular.

Secrets, sex, and money.

The principals at the core of the murder were an offbeat triangle. There was Tony Jackett, a handsome harbormaster/shellfish constable; Tim Arnold, a quiet, sometimes stormy children's book author; and the woman who had entranced them both, Christa Worthington, a fashion writer. Praised by her editors, one of whom had called her a "fashion anthropologist," Christa left the fashion world and had holed up in Truro with her out-of-wedlock "miracle baby."

In addition to Jackett and Arnold, the murder had an unusual cornucopia of possible suspects. "Suspect is a TV word," O'Keefe griped, but the list of people "in the orbit of opportunity" was a ragtag patchwork of the American quilt.

The list included the philanderer's jilted wife, Susan, who remained "the undisputed most beautiful girl to ever graduate from Provincetown High School"; Jackett's edgy, Rapunzel-look-alike daughter, Braunwyn; the estranged husband of the edgy daughter, Keith Amato; Jackett's handsome and monastic sons, Luc and Kyle; and Christa's own father, Christopher "Toppy" Worthington, a retired Boston lawyer. Toppy's young girlfriend, Beth Porter, an ex-prostitute with a heroin habit, was also under investigation. A contrapuntal rumor soon began to circulate that Porter wasn't just a shack job but that she was Toppy's love child from an extramarital affair he had had when Christa was growing up.

That's quite a piebald gymkhana and I needed O'Keefe to help me sort through it.

O'Keefe is usually deadpan, with a wicked gleam that surfaces now and then. His stony face, dark hair, and compact physique is an attractive amalgam of two schools: the film noir detective and the all-too-familiar mainstream-TV Kojak. His locution is acerbic, clipped. He speaks in monosyllabic crits of whatever falls in front of him. Serious to a fault, his veneer is hard to break through, highly polished, and he doesn't volunteer much. But his introspections sizzle beneath the surface. It's my goal to soften him up. It's going to be tough to penetrate the steely prosecutor coupled with the savvy politician in him.

O'Keefe had told me, "I've stood over every dead body on the Cape for the last eighteen years. Unattended deaths—you have to figure out if it's suicide, accident, or murder. Like that boy killed last week in West Yarmouth—that was a violent crime. That kid lost twelve pints of his fourteen pints of blood."

"Twelve pints?"

"There's a lot of blood in you," he said.

That's almost a river. I imagined him rolling up his trouser cuffs.

"I've got a mortician's sense of humor by now," he said.

I wanted to learn how O'Keefe nosed around "murder world" without it seeping into him. It was taking its toll on me. I see Christa everywhere. If there's a woman with a little curly-topped girl in the A&P, at the ATM at Seamen's Bank, or a woman waving her Mobil speed pass, her back to me, filling her tank at the next pump. She might have Christa's high forehead, pouty lips, or sorrel hair.

Of course, it's a nobody.

The night of the Wampanoag Ball, I had volunteered to tag up with O'Keefe at the commuter lot at Exit 6 on the Mid-Cape Highway. I thought that it was a convenient spot to leave one of our cars. But he told me to go straight to his office in Barnstable. He'd meet me. He explained that his office was in the big white colonial a couple of doors east of the county courthouse, across from the Dolphin Restaurant and the demure little Barnstable post office. I took my first baby steps just up the street at 6A, and I thought I knew by heart the seventeenth-century picture-book village: the courthouse; the Barnstable Tavern; the Dolphin Restaurant; the Cancer Ransack Shop; shake-roofed cottages and Victorian guesthouses; the block-to-block antique emporiums; and, at one time, there was an aviary that sold budgies and society finches. But I had never been inside the DA's office.

I arrived after sunset to find the building was empty, blacked out. Not one light on. I left my car to walk around the footprint, in case there was an entrance on the other side and maybe O'Keefe expected me to find him. The mountain wasn't going to come to me. As I toured outside the building, I saw the Barnstable County House of Corrections perched just up the hill. Originally built to house seventy-five inmates, it now kennels three hundred. The complex was blazing; a modest little compound with an afterthought of concertina wire that twinkled in the floodlights.

As I circled the white colonial that fronted Main Street, I sidestepped a little mess on the sidewalk, a broken jar of jelly. I stared at the sugary tumble of shattered glass and strawberries. It must have jimmied from a shopping bag and exploded right here. Its blood-red pectin stained a deep scallop on the fresh-swept paving stone. Roadside stands all over Cape Cod sell these homemade jellies, watermelon pickle, and corn relish, but none of these kiosks would be in operation yet. It was early March and still the off-season. The little tub didn't have a label. I stooped and poked the weeping blob with a fingertip. I tasted it. Sweet with a sharp aftertaste.

The little treasure upset me. One time I had left a little jam pot in smithereens in a hotel room in Manhattan. Room service had brought croissants and coffee, and I pitched the mini-jar at my visitor's head as he had skulked out the door.

A car purred into the side lot and squeezed beside my Camry. I walked over to the passenger door. Instead of inviting me to sit down beside him, O'Keefe climbed out of the car. His door swung wide open to deliver a powerful blow of astringent cologne. As the car light flicked on, I saw the spray container propped on the console: "Eternity—for Men." I wondered if he brought his aftershave bottle everywhere he went.

O'Keefe was groomed and suited up in an elegant pinstripe. He was wearing the midnight-black camel hair overcoat I'd admired the first time I met him. The Wampanoag Ball was a semiformal affair. I had wanted to wear trousers because I had recently broken my ankle and it was still swollen. My vanity wounded, I sacrificed my pride and wore a little basic black number and a pair of flats. I was just out of a cast and couldn't wear heels. Embarrassed by the infirmity, I explained to O'Keefe that I felt "uneven," kicking one toe out and then the other to show him my lopsided conformation. I might as well admit the deficit and douse any expectations for perfection. He examined the damage and said, "Well, at least you're standing up."

We were just breaking the ice, but the exchange reminded me of James M. Cain's critique about a woman's "legworks" in the first pages of his noir mystery novel Serenade. Something about O'Keefe had reminded me of Cain's obsessive reverence for women even as he dismissed them, like a man who fears his addiction might be revealed if he doesn't publicly decry it.

I saw O'Keefe's hair was still damp from a hasty shower. O'Keefe didn't have an extra minute to waste. His law enforcement schedule was dawn to the wee hours, and he was always charging through his tasks full speed. From his morning coffee, he hopped from his offices with DA Phillip Rollins to the courthouse, to the state police barracks, to CPAC meetings for crime prevention and control, to taped-off chambers-of-horror murder scenes, to community soirees with teapots and trays of petits fours. He is a public man. He told me that he'd been up to the state crime lab in Sudbury, "twisting their arms and holding hands" to get them to complete DNA testing for the Worthington case. In the Sudbury lab, DNA capabilities are so limited that each of the state's district attorneys can submit only one case a month, first come, first serve. "They don't have the bodies," O'Keefe said.

"The bodies? Where do they take the bodies?"

He looked at me as if I was a "silly" and he said, "They don't have the resources. This is Massachusetts. We don't, we do not invest in the law enforcement infrastructure. We ran out of state police overtime money February ninth. Done. Gone—even in the best of times, this state doesn't spend enough dough on law enforcement. In the end, fingers are going to wag. The press are yapping, like with that Ramsey case in Colorado."

Meet the Author

The recipient of an NEA fellowship and a Pushcart Prize, MARIA FLOOK is the author of  My Sister Life, The Story of My Sister's  Disappearance; two novels, Open Water and Family Night (which received a PEN American /Ernest Hemingway Foundation Special Citation); and a collection of short stories, You Have the Wrong Man. She teaches at Emerson College.

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Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod 2.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
xMissMelaniex More than 1 year ago
The story might very well have been good if written by a better writer who could give enough details and plot to keep it interesting. It was excruciating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boring .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a woman, I found myself slightly horrified at my reaction to this tragic story. The writing is an excellent blend of storytelling narrative and character analysis, but I failed to develop sympathy for the victim. I approached the book with full empathy for the victim; someone who abandoned a life of success and acclaim for the pastoral solitude of the dunes. Yet as I read, I couldn't escape the feeling that she was a privileged, entitled and, to my surprise, promiscuous woman whose behavior consistently put her in harm's way. (In her defense, I am a repressed prude and the least fair advocate for unconventional sexual mores.) She certainly did not "deserve" a violent death, but my compassion was progressively eroded as I read about her life and her choices. I don't know if this is more about my response, or about the author's portrayal. After all, should the author be responsible for making her someone to root for, or just for presenting an objective view of true events?
Guest More than 1 year ago
it could have been a good book, but it was simply too boring after a while. It was such a violent, totally unexpected crime, so weird. The writing should have been more compelling. A lot was good...just not enough to keep you going through the whole book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Onekis torn between feeling sorry for christa and wondering if 20 years of hedonism can go ubpaid crista did not deserve what happened to her and ava certainly did not deserve it the author could have spare.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This author seems to switch from vulgar to prudent and back again at the drop of a hat. also, she makes constant idolatrous reference to WASPs as if they are superior to the rest of the poor humans on the earth -- im 3/4 done and sorry i started it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just read all the other reviews for this book and was astounded! I am 2/3 through the book and can't wait to go home every day to continue reading. I think it is a very well-written and throughly engrossing book. Unlike some of the other reviewers here, I do enjoy finding out about the nuances and characteristics of the area and about all the various people involved in Christa's life and murder investigation. I almost didn't buy the book after reading that the murder is as yet unsolved, but now I am glad I went ahead and bought it. I feel like I know the various individuals and am particularly drawn to Tim Arnold, the spurned lover who remained a friend. Christa to me is a sympathetic figure, because she never seemed to find happiness anywhere and was betrayed by those closest to her all her life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was really looking forward to this story, since I had heard of the case, but found I was actually skipping passages, which I do not usually do in reading a book. The author is constantly repeating, and jumping from one thing to another. Too much information not really related to the crime.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was excited to read this book and was disappointed once I started. The book was monotonous and tiresome. Flook repeated herself so many times..... I feel that justice was not done for the character. It was poorly written and did not portray characters acurately. There was too much history about the Cape and not enough details about the crime and the crime scene. I found it a struggle to complete...and once I did I was releived it was over.....truly disappointing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was intrigued by the murder mystery of Christa Worthington when I first heard about it on the news and was anticipating reading this book. What a big disappointment it turned out to be. I found it so hard to get through this book, it was almost like a chore. I finally put it down about a third of the way through. The author repeats herself so much and goes on about the history of Cape Cod and it's settlers. Who cares?? I wanted to read about the investigation into the murder, I didn't need a history lesson. This was one of the worst books I've picked up in a long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A novelist writes a crime documentary. Hmm. Something is wrong here. Too much fluff and opinion and way too much about herself. Those of us who read true crime stories have to get through the needless prose to get to the investigation. It is, however, an interesting book despite these flaws. Flook had best stick to writing novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having just visited the cape,(Truro, P-town)in Oct.of 2002 and not knowing what just took place there, I was facinated to read that I was just steps away from this whole scenario. I think Ms. Flook did an excellent job in presenting her research on this case as thoroughly and unjudgmentally as any writer could. I could hardly put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hastily produced and apparently unedited, 'Invisible Eden' is a smirking, gossip-driven account of the murder of fashion-writer Christa Worthington. The facts of the murder and its stalled investigation are gripping, but author Maria Flook treats these details as mere asides. Instead, Flook spends most of the book¿s 400 pages drooling over the victim¿s sexual history, pausing only to ridicule various real-life residents of outer Cape Cod (they¿re a remarkably venal, lustful and stupid lot, if Flook can be believed). Even the book¿s nominal hero, Cape and Islands Assistant D.A. Michael O¿Keefe, is skewered¿ turns out, according to Flook, he¿s a hyper-macho sexist as much inclined to blame the victim as to pursue the killer. Only local homme fatale Tony Jackett escapes Flook¿s derision: ¿Each day,¿ Flook simpers, ¿almost as soon as [Jackett] has rinsed his razor, his brimming testosterone gives him a blue chin by lunchtime.¿ This not-quite sentence isn¿t the book¿s worst sin against the prose gods. In one of several passages about Worthington¿s college classmates, Flook writes: ¿Some of these Vassar women were well adjusted, but others bristled at being face-to-face with decisions they had once made and had tried to ignore were permanent.¿ Such sentence-level flubs abound, as do misspellings of the undergraduate, spell-check variety: ¿pedaled¿ is rendered as ¿peddled¿ half a dozen times, and so on. There are other problems as well¿anecdotes are repeated, the book¿s central metaphors are relentlessly flogged. Was the rush to print so urgent that Broadway Books chose to forego even the most superficial proofreading process? Were there so many problems, Flook¿s (heavily medicated? Dyslexic?) editor simply threw in the towel? As bad as the proofreading meltdown is, it¿s nothing compared to the book¿s larger, structural issues. Flook can¿t decide if the tone should be lyrical/literary, or ¿hard-boiled¿ and factual: one minute she¿s a Truman Capote ¿wannabe¿ (a favorite word of Flook¿s), the next she¿s posing as a tough-talking crime reporter. Worse yet, neither mode seems to work: attempts at lyricism tend to collapse under the weight of preposterous tropes (¿¿the safe haven of childhood dissolved like Kleenex in a glass of water¿), while the more ¿journalistic¿ passages are devoted to breathless, tabloid-style discussions of the victim's sex life. In the end, one feels a certain embarrassment for Flook, who can¿t seem to create a voice for Worthington that¿s distinct from her own, can¿t help inserting herself into the sexual drama (O¿Keefe, she claims, makes a pass at her), and insists on talking about her own romantic failures, as though such banal confessions might somehow inform the story of Christa Worthington¿s brutal murder. The circumstances of Worthington's death are tragic, and deserve a comprehensive, dispassionate, respectful telling. Unfortunately, ¿Invisible Eden¿ isn¿t it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Maria Flook is all over the place in this book. I bought the book hoping for a story of Christa Worthington's life on Cape Cod, but this author goes into so many other deaths and fisherman stories, it is very hard to follow. I put it down at Page 113.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Invisible Eden is the worst 'summer book' I've read, and I'm a librarian so I've read some awful books. The author is a snob and can not remove herself from Christa's story. She overuses metaphors in a sophomoric way and uses words only a Junior English major would use. The story doesn't flow and is filled with useless information.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although the author weaves fact and fiction into an interesting tale, she does so in a manner which quite often feels to be more fiction than fact. She describes to the reader what Christa Worthington, the victim is feeling and thinking as she interacts with lovers and when she is with her 2 year old daughter, Ava. The author would have no knowledge of such feelings or thoughts, yet writes as though they are fact. I found the author's writing style to be rather crass - as an example, when refering to Mr. Worthington's girlfriend, she called her his 'shack job'. She also went into too much detail regarding her personal and professional relationship with District Attorney, Michael O'Keefe. I found myself wishing she would write less about herself and Mr. O'Keefe (where they went, what they wore, how he smelled) and more about the murder and its investigation. Her book could easily have been titled Invisible Eden and My Adventures with Michael O'Keefe.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an avid true crime reader I was very disappointed in this book. It is so steeped in metaphor that it is difficult to get 'just the facts'. In some instances, the focus seems to be too much on the author rather than subject matter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't believe the writer was allowed to go to print with some of the unprofessional lapses that appear in this book... she admits she had to ask what a grand jury is, she calls the Unitarian Universalist memorial service 'goofy' just because she doesn't agree with their philosophy ('fruit and nut') and she dismisses anyone who isn't a celebrity or relevant to her book as 'nobodies.' I am amazed that such work is being recommended. Flook ought to read Ann Rule to see how to write a true crime book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If she hadn't had money and hadn't written well for WWD, we would have never had read of this very troubled woman whose problems are otherwise unremarkable in both sexes of every station in life.