Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker

Tall Oaks
By Chris Whitaker
Published by twenty7 (e-book - 7 April 2016; Paperback - 8 September 2016)
ISBN:  978-1785770302

Publisher's description
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 . . .

My verdict
Tall Oaks isn't a crime novel, as such, although a boy's disappearance is at the heart of the book. It's far more than 'who' or 'how' or 'why'. It's a study of small town America, where nothing much usually happens, until a little boy goes missing.

As mentioned by other reviewers, Tall Oaks is ideal for fans of Twin Peaks. It reads like a series of intertwined short stories featuring a whole host of diverse, larger than life characters.  It's a dark, intriguing and humorous mystery, with vivid descriptions, sharp dialogue and a gripping plot.

This isn't a fast paced read, but it's certainly not a boring one! Everyone is a suspect but, without any clues, local police chief has no idea what's happened to three-year-old Harry. Everyone is also VERY keen to help him - many are over-keen - and it's clear that there are secrets, lies and strange behaviour bubbling underneath each characters' many layers.

There were several twists and turns, including a few OMG moments that kept me on the edge of my seat. But it's really everything going on in the background, how easily you get caught up in people's lives and the reading between the lines that makes this a book to remember.

Before I end my review, I have to mention that 'Manny rocks' - he's definitely my favourite character in Tall Oaks!

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