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MORETTI'S CHARACTERS & PLACES COME ALIVE!

Kate Moretti gives us front-row seats to a drama about marriage, fidelity, teacher-student relationships, and the complicated interactions among peers in a small town, be they, teenagers or adults. In typical Moretti fashion, she provides complex, nuanced characters whom we get to know well and whose flaws make them all the more real and relatable. Alecia and Nate already have a stressful marriage. Her days are totally consumed by her obsession with their autistic five-year-old, while Nate is closely––some might say excessively––involved with the high school students he teaches and coaches. When one of the students claims that she and Nate are having an affair, things begin to fall apart, and when the girl disappears altogether, it gets worse. Moretti’s descriptions bring people and places alive, immersing the reader in each character’s experience, and her pacing keeps one engaged. While categorized as suspense, based on the girl’s disappearance and the question of who is responsible, it’s really more of a study of the complexities, expectations, and disappointments of personal relationships. It also does a good job of exploring the tragic outcomes that can result from the loss of a small town’s main source of employment––in this case, the local paper mill that once meant prosperity but now sits in ruin, abandoned and dangerous. The whodunit aspect takes a back seat to find out how the main characters will fare when all is said and done.

~ Rosemary Fifield (TopShelf Reviews)