It Could Never Happen Here by Eithne Shortall is a
highly recommended domestic thriller told through multiple points of
In the town of Cooney in West Cork, a body has been pulled from the river behind the school. The parents and others in the school must be interviewed and the much anticipated play will be cancelled. Before this incident parents were jockeying for positions for their children or themselves in the play.
Beverley Franklin is a highly controlled, tightly wound woman. As the director of the Glass Lake primary school play, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, she must make sure every goes smoothly to protect the school's reputation as well as that of her daughter, Amelia, who is the lead character. When she catches Amelia in a shocking action, she immediately gets to work to make sure the right decision is made concerning it. The problem is that Beverly has no idea what is really going on and gossip is created and past on at lightning speed in Cooney.
There are many characters in It Could Never Happen Here,
but the majority are truly unlikable and written as such. The
pleasure in the narrative is following the utterly despicable and
gossipy bunch of rumormongers, which includes all the mothers
associated with the primary school. These women aren't your average
helicopter parents, they are Chinook helicopter parents.
Readers won't know who was murdered until the very end, so with this group of characters for most of the novel everyone could be the victim. Interspersed within the narrative are brief insights into the police investigation and clips from interviews with those present in the school. There is a subplot about a cat kidnapping that is odd but funny.
While the novel is interesting at first, things drag on way too long
and the gossipy cliques, prejudices, and rehashing of past events begin
to grate. For the review copy, transitions between character's
viewpoints weren't clearly delineated which may be changed in the final
copy. 3.5 rounded up