Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Twenty-Seven Minutes

Twenty-Seven Minutes by Ashley Tate
1/30/24; 384 pages
Poisoned Pen Press

Twenty-Seven Minutes by Ashley Tate is a recommended novel of psychological suspense.

Ten years ago an accident resulted in the death of Phoebe Dean. Her brother, Grant, was driving at the time and classmate Becca was a passenger. They were both injured but survived. For the past ten years, residents in the small town have been obsessed with the tragedy and continually question why Grant waited 27 minutes before calling 911. The official story is that he hit a deer, was knocked unconscious, and injured Becca was unable to help. The town thinks he waited to sober up before calling.

June has just buried her mother. Ten years ago on the same night of the accident, her brother Wyatt and her father disappeared. No one in the town attended her mother's service or have shown any concern about her brother's disappearance. She has always wondered why Wyatt never contacted them or returned for a visit. Now on the unfortunate anniversary of that night, a memorial service is being held in Phoebe's honor and the truth about that night might finally be revealed. 

The narrative is told through the points-of-view of Becca, Grant, June and Wyatt, predominately from the present day with occasional chapters from ten years ago. Chapters are clearly marked indicating which character's POV is presented and flashbacks are italicized in these chapters. The tension and suspense is slowly created through the secrets being held and the anticipation that the truth will be revealed. There is also a supernatural element.

Having a town obsess over an accident from ten years ago while canonizing a teenage girl requires setting aside a good dose of disbelief. Once this is accomplished readers can expect a drawn-out, very slow moving story. I was hopeful that the character development would redeem the glacial pace but this doesn't happen because all the characters are unlikable and stuck in the past. There are a few glimmers of hope at the beginning and along the way that the plot may take a less predictable turn, but, alas, it was not the case. 2.5 rounded up.

Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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