Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Blackbird Season

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti
Atria Books: 9/26/17
eBook review copy; 352 pages
ISBN-13: 9781501118456

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti is a highly recommended mystery/drama.

When a thousand starlings fall out of the sky, dead, on the town of Mount Oanoke PA during a high school baseball game coached by Nate Winters, it seems to be the beginning of things that are going to go wrong for the popular math teacher. A reporter in town investigating the mysterious die off of birds has seen Nate embracing Lucia, a high school student, While Nate has been, according to him, helping the young woman, his wife, Alicia, has been at home struggling to take care of their 5-year-old autistic son, Gabe.

Alecia's friend and Nate’s coworker, Bridget Harris,  is a creative writing teacher at the high school and knows both Nate and the girl. She has witnessed some suspect actions, but she is also trying to keep an open mind. When the girl, Lucia, goes missing, Bridget tries to find her and enlists the police. But the police are seeing only one suspect in her disappearance, Nate, and the fragile bonds between husband and wife and friends is near a breaking point as the town seems to rally against him.

In this character-driven drama, the story is told from the point of views of Nate, Alicia, Lucia, and Bridget. This helps keep the reader guessing and ratchets up the suspense as more clues are discovered and more information comes out. Moretti is an excellent writer and handles the transition between characters beautifully. Of the characters, though, Bridget is the only one I even remotely cared about. Everyone else resembled a caricature rather than a real person.

The ending was good for me, although I did struggle a bit with getting there. I must admit I am becoming a wee bit tired of this plot (male teacher/female student dead) and adding annoying characters to the well-worn path didn't help me traverse it. What did help propel me through the novel was the quality of the writing and looking at the plot from the different character's points of view.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Atria Books.

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