Everyone has a secret in Tall Oaks . . .
When three-year-old Harry goes missing, the whole of America turns its attention to one small town.
Everyone is eager to help. Everyone is a suspect.
Desperate mother Jess, whose grief is driving her to extreme measures.
Newcomer Jared, with an easy charm and a string of broken hearts in his wake.
Photographer Jerry, who’s determined to break away from his controlling mother once and for all.
And, investigating them all, a police chief with a hidden obsession of his own . . .
What I Thought:
Initially, I thought Tall Oaks would be a reasonably standard mystery, with a missing boy and the effect it has on his community, but while Harry’s disappearance is what kicks off the book, it’s not really the focus at all. Instead, Tall Oaks is more of a character study, showing a group of people who happen to share the same town, but are all very different and with completely diverse concerns in their lives.
What’s clever about the book is that as you start reading, the groups of characters could easily descend into cliche – the fat one, the outsider kid, the bully etc etc, but as you learn more about each one, layer upon layer is peeled away and they are revealed as multi-faceted individuals that you can really connect with.
Although the mystery element is one of many focus points, it does come to a dramatic and totally unexpected conclusion – it is well worth reading the book for that plotline alone and Manny and his family were really loveable characters, but I think Jared’s back story touched me the most.
Tall Oaks is out now in ebook, and will be followed by a paperback edition in September. I am also participating in the blog tour for Tall Oaks, which will be back here on Wednesday for an exclusive piece written by Chris Whitaker, about the making of Manny. There are also some other fab blogs hosting stops on the tour (as below) so please do check them out.
I was given an eCopy of Tall Oaks in exchange for an honest review.