Bloomsbury, 2014 (2014)
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
by Lisa Howorth starts its story in 1966 Mississippi. A nine-year old boy has been abducted, sexually molested, and killed. There does seem to be a suspect, a man from the neighborhood, but nothing can be proved. The crime goes unsolved for thirty years.
ary Byrd Thornton returns to Mississippi from Virginia, where she now makes her home, when a reporter, acting on clues from cold case investigators, insinuates that they have concrete evidence on the killer's identity. Mary Byrd has spent thirty years trying to come to terms with the fact that her adored stepbrother is gone. She feels she has a handle on her emotions. But she can't bear to drag the whole tragic episode back into her and her family's lives, to go through the whole time over again.
he will have to travel back to her old home town where the crime might finally be put to rest.
focuses not only on the terrible crime but also on the day-to-day life that Mary Byrd experiences in Virginia. As readers, we share her thoughts as well as her activities. She calls good friends to get their opinions as to whether she should return to Mississippi, to put to rest her angst over the death of a dear little boy who meant to much to her. Can she handle reliving the entire time with police and reporters and well-meaning friends?
ost of the pages of
focus on Mary Byrd's decision and how she makes it. It's a journey into the mind of a troubled, uncertain woman. The author has revealed that she experienced the horror of which she writes. She's been there. Her young stepbrother was murdered. Unfortunately his killer has not been found. She writes with great sensitivity while making the point that something like this never leaves the survivors. They live with it day by day.
is a very provocative read by a first time novelist. Well done.
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