Title: Grist Mill Road by Christopher J Yates
Genre: Currently #188 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Thrillers, Crime
Publication Date: To be released January 9, 2018
Source: Picador and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Grist Mill Road – Cover has an obvious tie to plot
No, you can’t shift into neutral and let your eyes drift over these pages because they caught your attention immediately. This is no simple plot and not easily told–it requires a reader to fully engage–absorb the flashbacks so you can understand what is happening (and more importantly why) in the present (which is 2008). The setting is the beautiful Swangum Mountains, trails, trees, and rocks. But a brutal act in a clearing in the forest sears forever the three kids involved. In a way, each was blinded by their own perception of the event, remember it differently, but only one lost an eye.
This is the story of twelve-year-old, Patrick (aka Patch), and two early teens, Matthew and Hannah, who back in 1982 fall victim to frenzied emotions fed by abuse, misunderstanding, and humiliation. Each will keep their dark secret until events unravel twenty-six years later in New York City. The book is tightly plotted, dark, cutting from one character to the other, each gradually sharing more of their memories of the summer day in the park just outside of Roseborn, ninety miles north of NYC
I’m not sure you could label Patrick as the protagonist (though it is his narrative that dominates), nor any of the supporting characters the antagonist. Matthew, the eldest, is wholly sympathetic and tragic. Hannah, beautiful Hannah, also comes from one of the wealthiest families in the town–but isn’t she soon also sympathetic?
The writing style is biting, sarcastic to the point of truthful, and told without benefit of quoted dialogue. However, like a play in street clothes, it doesn’t take long to get so deeply into the narrative, you no longer need quotes. The reader is a voyeur, peeking over the shoulder of the letter writer, getting a sense of the angst and experience of the teens forming the adult they become. Yates develops his characters so thoroughly you ache for them in this journey, especially Michael.
This is a multi-layered literary tragedy, uniquely offered style of writing that includes language and sexual innuendo (definitely stretching my rules for reading). It is gripping and sensitive, and though I was let-down by the climax, must recommend as a suspenseful, thought provoking, and perhaps much too honest narrative into sensitive issues.
I downloaded this ebook from Picador and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for suspense thriller enthusiasts.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point five of Five Stars
The Author: (From Goodreads Author page) Christopher J. Yates was born and raised in Kent and studied law at Oxford University before working as a puzzle editor in London. He now lives in New York City with his wife and dog. ‘Black Chalk’ is his debut novel. Grist Mill Road has been named in Goodreads’ best six books of the month for January 2018. Find the complete list here. You can read his blog posts on his website. ©2018 V Williams