Thank you so much to Celadon Books for my super early copy of Locust Lane by Stephen Amidon! This is the first time I’ve been sent a first round survey ARC so that’s super exciting. Book received for free in exchange for an honest review and early feedback.
I’m not sure about the etiquette for extremely early reviews but I think it’s better to just post it now while I’m still thinking about the book and help to put it on people’s winter radar.
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Locust Lane
- Author: Stephen Amidon
- Publisher & Release: Celadon Books, 01/17/23
- Length: 320 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ for fans of domestic suspense, mystery
Here’s the synopsis from GoodReads:
For fans of Mystic River by Dennis Lehane and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, Stephen Amidon’s Locust Lane is a taut and utterly propulsive story about the search for justice and the fault lines of power and influence in a seemingly idyllic town. Can anyone be trusted?
On the surface, Emerson, Massachusetts, is just like any other affluent New England suburb. But when a young woman is found dead in the nicest part of town, the powerful neighbors close ranks to keep their families safe. In this searing novel, Eden Perry’s death kicks off an investigation into the three teenagers who were partying with her that night, each a suspect. Hannah, a sweet girl with an unstable history. Jack, the popular kid with a mean streak. Christopher, an outsider desperate to fit in. Their parents, each with motivations of their own, only complicate the picture: they will do anything to protect their children, even at the others’ expense.
With a brilliantly woven, intricately crafted plot that gathers momentum on every page, this is superb storytelling told in terse prose—a dynamic read that is both intensely gripping and deeply affecting.
I am constantly impressed with the books coming out of Celadon. Regardless of the genre they tend to be on the literary side and very well around. It’s a bit difficult to classify this novel but it’s a mystery and it’s suspenseful and there’s a lot of small community he-said-she-said in the process of finding justice for the murder victim.
Locust Lane is told from the alternating viewpoints of I believe five different people in the community. It was a bit difficult to keep the storyline and voices straight at first which is the main reason why I docked a star. The characters are explored more deeply than I usually find in thrillers, which serves to show how the people from different backgrounds fit into the wealthy and privileged area.
When the girl is found murdered, the detectives immediately zero in on the teen who is a foreigner. We watch the wealthy and powerful members of the community band together to cover up the indiscretions of the other teens while the mother of the victim and a less than credible witness go about trying to expose the actual murderer.
It was interesting to watch the details come out. Woven throughout the murder mystery are themes of disturbed youth, alcoholism, grief, coping with various upbringings, tough parenting challenges, wealth and power. A big part of it is seeing how different characters handle similar challenges such as the loss of a child or being reliant on someone else’s money.
And of course the mystery itself – this is a compulsive read and I was definitely never bored reading it. I picked the wrong suspect for the crime but that’s nothing new. I would definitely recommend this one for people who like mystery and suspense and exploring different character backgrounds.
Locust Lane is out in January, keep it on your radar!