Last year, I read (and loved!) The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti, so I was thrilled to find out that #cjsreads had obtained copies of her sophomore novel, The Blackbird Season as one of our September picks! I had absolutely no expectations going into this book; truthfully, I loved The Vanishing Year so much that I didn’t even read the synopsis of this book. I figured that if Moretti wrote it, I would be interested. I was right! Moretti was able to weave a pretty stellar, mysterious novel within these pages. One that left me binge reading late into the night.
This story surrounds high school teacher, Nate Winters as he is accused of having an affair with a female student, Lucia Hamm. As Nate’s life spirals and Lucia goes missing, Nate is the only suspect. As his wife, Alecia begins to question his situation, his only ally comes in the form of co-worker and creative writing teacher, Bridget, who realizes the only way to save Nate’s reputation could be using Lucia’s journals.
Though marketed as a psychological thriller, I didn’t find that this one fit that bill in the traditional sense. When I think of psychological thriller, I think of a fast-paced, on the edge of your seat, mind-bending plot filled with unreliable narration and lots of “WHOA” moments. In this case, I felt Moretti created more of a slow-burning mystery. What happened to Lucia? Who is telling the truth? What is the deal with all these birds? For me, this absolutely worked.
Generally speaking, choppy and disjointed narration usually gets on my nerves, but, somehow, Moretti manages to make this style of narration easy to follow and completely addictive throughout the plot of this tale. I was on the edge of my seat as I devoured each chapter (both and back and forth in time) and tried to figure out what the true happenings were and what motives the characters were acting with. Each character gets a distinct POV and I loved hearing the story from each of their perspectives. I found this to be incredibly interesting.
One of my largest gripes to this story was the situation with the birds. At the beginning of the story, we are told that thousands (hundreds? millions? Who knows) of blackbirds have fallen out of the sky and into the town. People are horrified by this phenomenon and experts are called into the test the town’s water and air, looking for reasons and possible side effects of this occurrence. I waited for the entirety of the book for this to be made clear. And, alas, there was never really an explanation. The birds were more of a metaphor or a representation and I just wasn’t about that. Personally, I felt like I needed an explanation.
Overall, if you enjoy a tightly woven plot with multiple characters and a compelling mystery, I think you will enjoy this book. It really reminded me of Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia. They both had that small town mystery vibe.
Thanks to the author, the publisher and Netgalley for a copy of The Blackbird Season; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
Want to see what Jessica and Chandra thought of this one? Keep reading to find out!