Niceville by Carsten Stroud(3 out of 5)

Let me start by saying I hadn’t read anything  by Carsten Stroud. I was browsing at the annual Newberry Library with Felicia and I ran into a box of advance reader copies(ARC, to the non-booksellers).  I wanted to buy it simply from the cover(the book, not the entire box). I read the back and thought “Well, it looks spooky, dark, and twisted.” Usually that’s enough for me. How to describe it? That’s another story. I was pulled into it enough at the start, but midway through all of the characters and multiple storylines- instead of capturing me- made me lose some interest.It seemed muddled, that lost a star. The end made some sense of the beginning and middle, but not enough to save the book as a whole. Which is sad, because to me, at least, the character development was total, and I cared about what happened to all of them.

The book starts with the disappearance of Rainey Teague, a young, quiet teenager. He vanishes in plain sight of a security camera in front of a pawn shop while looking into a mirror in the window(said mirror turns out to have quite the history attached to it). Nick, the town’s troubled former ex-military man turned police detective, ends up being in charge of the investigation. His wife, Kate, the town’s fiery lawyer extraordinaire, is wrestling with unease over a case that she just resided over. Rainey shows up eventually, but he’s never seen again. His mother disappears into the town crater. After he’s found, his father goes to visit him and then takes his life. The town’s eccentric widow disappears, along with her besotted friend. A bunch of police officers are shot to death during a bold robbery.  A spurned husband plots revenge against well-known religious figures and Native American town heroes, in his quest to seek the ultimate revenge.A media helicopter is also shot down at the same time. Many mysterious disappearances and unexplained phenomena occur. Eventually, when all the hullabaloo dies down, you get the story-multiple stories. Some of it strikes me as creepy, but most of it strikes me as half-assed- until the end. At the end, it all makes it worthwhile. You just have to sit through all of it, and concentrate. I had a hard time with this, as I’m not good at concentrating on many things. Well, a book is different. A book like this- certainly different. Depending on your levels of concentration and patience with maudlin plot devices, it may be the book for you. If not, I’m sure there’s another.

 

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~ by generationgbooks on September 6, 2012.

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