Saturday, August 12, 2023

In a Quiet Town

In a Quiet Town by Amber Garza 
8/8/23; 336 pages
MIRA Books

In a Quiet Town by Amber Garza is a recommended family drama/thriller.

After Tatum's husband Shane, an influential pastor in their small California town, disowned their daughter, Adrienne, Tatum thought she'd lost her daughter forever until after several years she finally defied her husband and secretly went to see Adrienne at the bar where she now works. Now every Wednesday night Tatum goes to the bar to see Adrienne and is re-establishing a relationship with her daughter. Then one night Adrienne doesn't show up to work. No one knows where she is and she isn't answering her phone.

Tatum contacts the police and tells her husband about it, but none of them are taking her seriously. When Tatum meets a man claiming to be Adrienne's fiancé, he believes her and is also trying to find Adrienne. Even though Tatum knew nothing about this man, she needs to trust him in her search for her daughter.

The narrative is told through different points of views, alternating between Tatum, Adrienne, and the fiancé, from both the past and the present. Tatum's character is sympathetic, despite her deferential demeanor, although it is nice to see her allowing herself a measure of some fortitude. However, at the start it was also a stretch for me to believe that a mother would not talk to a daughter for years because her husband didn't want her to.

The pacing is slow and there is some repetition and over detailed explanations which bog down the pace further.  The overarching theme of Shane, the pastor and members of his church controlling the whole town was played a bit too heavy-handed and wasn't believable outside of a sequestered cult situation. There is a surprising twist. This was just an okay novel for me.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of MIRA via NetGalley.

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