“When we clear the physical clutter from our lives, we literally make way for inspiration and 'good, orderly direction' to enter.” — Julia Cameron

What we own matters to us, as the old adage goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” People place different levels of importance on objects and the ability to let go of something all depends on their sentimental attachment to it. In our latest read we travel to the Massachusetts home of a professional organizer.

Careful What You Wish For by Hallie Ephron

When a professional organizer agrees to help a grieving widow clean out her husband’s secret storage unit, she never would have guessed that it would lead her to becoming a murder suspect. However, that’s exactly what happens when Emily finds a corpse during her organizational duties. Hallie Ephron’s latest thriller has a slow and at times bumpy start as the first half focuses on how Emily’s Type A nature clashes with her husband’s hoarding tendencies; however, for readers who hang in there, the pacing jumps from a meandering stroll to a breakneck sprint in the second half of the novel. Crimes and police visits begin to pile up and even with all of her decluttering skills Emily might not be able to clean her way out of being charged with a crime.

The plot of the thriller itself is intriguing; however, at times the characters in the book feel a bit two-dimensional which can make the story feel a little flat. The incorporation of Marie Kondo’s organizational practices may spark joy with readers who practice her methods; however, for those who are not particularly engaged with the world of professional organization, it may drag on for too long.

Overall the thriller sparks joy and makes for a nice, easy read.

From the book jacket…

Emily Harlow is a professional organizer who helps people declutter their lives; she’s married to a man who can’t drive past a yard sale without stopping. He’s filled their basement, attic, and garage with his finds.

Like other professionals who make a living decluttering peoples’ lives, Emily has devised a set of ironclad rules. When working with couples, she makes clear that the client is only allowed to declutter his or her own stuff. That stipulation has kept Emily’s own marriage together these past few years. She’d love nothing better than to toss out all her husband’s crap. He says he’s a collector. Emily knows better — he’s a hoarder. The larger his “collection” becomes, the deeper the distance grows between Emily and the man she married.

If you enjoy…

Readers who enjoyed “Careful What You Wish For” might also enjoy reading “The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone” by Felicity McLean. The story follows Tikka’s return to her hometown as she tries to piece together what happened the night her childhood pals disappeared.