Review - Abernathy by Claire Patel-Campbell

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I recently had the opportunity to read an advance copy of Abernathy and it’s another book that makes me proud to be an Unbounder and humbled to be in the company of such authors. Abernathy opens with the discovery of a murder victim in the woods on the outskirts of a small American town. Although the book is about the murder and the mystery of who killed this young woman, it is not a murder mystery in the traditional sense. Instead, through the use of an unusual narrative structure, the book explores the repercussions of the murder for the people of the town.

Abernathy is a story of lies, secrets and betrayal. Of the veneer of small town living and of people “settling” for life as they know it.

Told from multiple points of view, all of whom are potentially unreliable, the story unfolds one murky clue at a time. Each character is given a distinct voice and emotional depth. Even the ones with few POV scenes. We are shown the shadows of motivations that the characters may be in denial of themselves. We think we see the shape of the solution to the mystery, only for that shape to change in the next scene.

Over the years, I’ve read quite a lot of crime/mystery fiction and I've become pretty good at spotting who the killer is. In some cases, I’ve worked it out before the end of the first chapter. In Abernathy, I was still guessing until close to the end, which was really refreshing for me.

I can highly recommend this book.

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