Author: Kate Moretti
Type: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Atria Books
First Published: September 26, 2017
First Line: "The rain came in sheets, like a wall, forming wide rivulets down the windshield."
Book Description from GoodReads: 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, Alecia, 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 Alecia 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.
Told from the alternating points of view of Alecia, Nate, Lucia, and Bridget, The Blackbird Season is a haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists and turns.
My Rating: 3 stars
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Atria Books for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
My Review: The Blackbird Season is about the disappearance of a teenage outcast named Lucia with all fingers pointing to Nate, one of her teachers, as the culprit. Lucia's disappearance was an interesting premise but I was surprised that the focus of this slow burn mystery was on the relationships and complicated family lives of the characters more than the suspense or the (surprisingly underutilized or explained) blackbird omen.
The story is told by four characters - Lucia, Nate, Nate's wife Alecia and Bridget, Nate's friend. I liked the changing POVs which helped to move the story along but I can't say I liked any of the characters. Not a one - with Nate being my least favourite. For a grown man, Nate's decisions were often ridiculous, naive and sometimes just plain stupid. I couldn't imagine a reasonably intelligent person making those choices and thinking there was nothing wrong their decisions.
Overall, this book had a good premise but didn't quite deliver on the characters, suspense or a big, shocking ending. That doesn't sound like a complimentary review but this book had its moments and kept me reading so that's saying something. I think readers who enjoy a slow burn mystery with a bigger focus on small town dysfunction should enjoy this book.