Synopsis from Goodreads
When Transom Shultz goes missing shortly after returning to his sleepy hometown of Fallen Mountains, Pennsylvania, his secrets are not the only ones that threaten to emerge. Red, the sheriff, is haunted by the possibility that a crime Transom was involved in seventeen years earlier—a crime Red secretly helped cover up—may somehow be linked to his disappearance. Possum, the victim of that crime, wants revenge. Laney will do anything to keep Transom quiet about the careless mistake they made that could jeopardize her budding relationship. And Chase, once a close friend, reels from Transom’s betrayal of buying his family’s farm under false pretenses and ruthlessly logging it and leasing the mineral rights to Marcellus shale frackers. As the search for Transom Shultz heats up and the inhabitants’ dark and tangled histories unfold, each one must decide whether to live under the brutal weight of the past or try to move beyond it.
First off, I have to say that I think my temperature actually rose while I read this book (and I was stuck in my house during a snowstorm when I read it)! The descriptions of the summer heat were very realistic to the point it was almost tangible!
This is a dark, atmospheric, slow-burn, character-driven mystery that takes place in a small town. The characters felt like real people – people you probably would have known if you grew up in a small town.
The story is told in two timelines – before Transom’s disappearance and after. The before part of the story clearly defines who Transom was and exposed all the reasons the other main characters in the story would have either hated him or feared him. Everyone had a reason for wanting Transom out of their lives, but does that mean any of them were responsible for his disappearance? The after part of the story focuses on the sheriff, Red, who is looking for Transom and has his own secrets that are haunting him.
Transom was not a likeable character. Everyone had a reason to dislike or fear him. He is easily the “villain” in this story; however, Transom’s backstory provides a reason, although not an excuse, for some of the things he has done in his life and the way he has treated others. But people tend to remember the bad over any good, and memories are long… particularly in small towns.
You will not know what happened to Transom until the end and it was a realistic and ultimately satisfying ending to the story.
This book took me a little longer to read than usual. It really is slow – more narrative than action. But I don’t think this is a bad thing. The story flows like molasses– slow, steady, and even a little sticky, but if you are patient the reward is sweet.
This is an impressive debut novel by the author. I enjoyed it and I would recommend it to anyone that likes stories about small towns, secrets, grudges, and regrets.
Thank you Netgalley and Amberjack Publishing for a free electronic ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Expected publication March 5, 2019 by Amberjack Publishing
My rating – 4 out of 5
If you are interested in purchasing this book please consider clicking the image below. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks!