Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Dredge

The Dredge by Brendan Flaherty
3/5/24; 256 pages

The Dredge by Brendan Flaherty is a recommended debut character-driven mystery featuring secrets from the past that may emerge.

Cale and Ambrose Casey are estranged brothers who grew up in rural Connecticut. Ambrose still lives in the area and has a construction company while Cale moved to Hawaii  and sells high-end real estate. The two brothers are forced to talk to each other when they learned of a real estate developer’s plan for Gibbs Pond and the land it is on. Lily Rowe ended up living near Gibbs pond when that was the last place her abusive father moved her and her brother Roy too. Now Lily is the only one left and she is working for the development company that plans to dredge the pond. Lily also has secrets to protect.

The narrative is mainly told through flashbacks and through multiple points-of-view and differing timelines with abrupt shifts between them. It all leads up to the secrets both families have that are tied to Gibbs Pond. The tone is somber and depressing throughout. While the secrets are revealed later in the novel, the title sort of gives away the direction the plot will take. It really is a bit too predictable and my attention flagged early on while reading.

The family secrets plot is a well-tread avenue so any venture down this road needs to be especially outstanding. Although The Dredge didn't meet my high expectations for the plot, there is a lot of promise in the portrayal of the characters. They were all complicated, troubled, realistic individuals although, as a reader who appreciates character-driven novels, I would have liked to see a bit more in-depth character development of these three. Thanks to Grove/Atlantic for providing me with an advance reader's copy via Edelweiss. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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