This is an odd yet compulsively readable first novel by a writer that’s a must watch for in the future. It’s odd because the characters are just that. And for its revamped southern-gothic-type story.
Protagonist Mary Byrd learns that the unsolved murder of her nine-year old stepbrother is being reopened and she’s been asked to journey back to her hometown to be interviewed along with her family. This means revisiting the tragic and still painful past that has marked her in ways she doesn’t really wish to know.
I decided to read this book after finishing an excerpt where Mary has just gotten off the phone with the cold case detective when she gets a second call from a determined and pushy journalist writing a book about her brother’s murder. After thirty years this is too much to process, and she hurls a piece of crockery across the room. Surveying the remains of a Corelle dish, she thinks, “I always knew this crap could break.”
I just had to read the rest to find out more about her, and I’m glad I did.
Getting to know Mary Byrd and her family and friends as she ponders the trip back home is time well spent. Mary is wry, profane, loving, funny and damaged and her journey home to truth and closure is heartbreakingly believable, all the more so because her story is based on a sad reality. Howorth’s brother was murdered many years ago and the case is still unsolved.
This novel is beautifully written, the characters are believable and memorable and Mary Byrd is unforgettable. A must-read and a story that would be great for book groups and vacation reading.