EXCERPT: ‘He felt sick. No matter what happened now, everything had just gotten worse. All the pieces he’d been clinging to had flown apart, scattering what was left of his life in a million directions. He was in trouble, he’d been in trouble, but now he was more than in trouble, he was as dead as a person could be while still being alive. In one heartbeat, he envisioned Alecia and Gabe huddled together on the couch, himself in prison, a 20/20 special. ….He had no way of knowing that this moment would become the linchpin, the moment that all the moments after would hinge upon. The papers would call him a murderer; the police would come to him; his ex-friends, his gym buddies, the guys who knew him for God’s sake; and say, Nate was the last one to see her alive, right? The last one is always the guilty one.’
THE BLURB: “Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times…
Until, of course, more important question arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.”
In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.
Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alicia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alicia to wonder if her husband has a second life.
And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.
Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.
MY COMMENTS: I struggled somewhat to become involved with this book. I didn’t particularly relate to any of the characters, which is not necessarily a problem. But I was just over 40% into the story before I began to feel any kind of real interest, a spark, and that didn’t last long.
The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti is told from four points of view, that of Alecia, Nate, Lucia and Bridget, which also wasn’t a problem.
The characters are well portrayed and rounded out. Nate’s life revolves around his baseball team and his students, with his wife Alecia and autistic son Gabe trailing somewhere behind in his priorities. He is not a bad man. He is very involved in the lives of his students, who both like and trust him. As do their parents. If he has a fault, it is that he is naive and can be arrogant.
Alecia’s life is consumed by Gabe, their five year old autistic son. She is totally focused on finding a ‘cure’ for him, so that he can live a ‘normal’ life; so that she can live a normal life, so that she can be a soccer mum and one of the mums in the cliques at the school gate. She resents that she is stuck in the house every day while Nate is out there ‘cavorting with his students’ and monitoring their every move on social media. She resents that he seems to care more for them, than for his own wife and child.
There is a recipe for trouble to start with. Add in Bridget Harris, Nate’s coworker and colleague, who is still depressed following the death of her husband, struggling with her job and who has always had a bit of a thing for Nate. And Lucia, trashy, blonde, abused and considered wierd Lucia who is randomly accepted and discarded by her classmates on a whim, and who has only ever had one true friend, Taylor. But even that is changing.
I so wanted to be captivated by the ‘haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists and turns’, but I wasn’t. I regret to say that I didn’t find it any of these things. Instead of suspense filled, I got angst filled. Disappointing? Yes, but if the book had been depicted more accurately, my expectations may not have been so high.
Thank you to Atria Books via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Therefore if you enjoyed the excerpt above, please go ahead and read this book. For an explanation of my ratings, please visit my profile page on Goodreads.com or my ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com.
This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday.wordpress.com.