Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Review: The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti

Title: The Blackbird Season
Author: Kate Moretti
Published: September 2017, Atria Books
Format: ARC E-copy, 304 pages
Source: Netgalley via Publisher

“Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times…

Until, of course, more important question arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.”

In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.

Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alicia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alicia to wonder if her husband has a second life.

And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.

Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.

Told from the alternating points of view of Alicia, Nate, Lucia, and Bridget, The Blackbird Season is a haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists and turns.

My thoughts: After reading Kate Moretti's last book, The Vanishing Year, I knew I had found an author I would keep reading. Her psychological thrillers have just that little something extra to set them apart - and believe me when I say you won't be able to think of anything else once you start reading them. I was completely entranced with this one and couldn't put it down until I finished it!

This book is chilling and haunting and I think what truly sets it apart is the way it's told. Being narrated by four different points of view and moving back and forth in time - all from the point of reference of when the birds fell - it's eerie to say the least! There are so many things going on that it will make your head spin, but at the same time, it totally sucks you in.

Between the birds falling out of the sky and the scandal between the student and teacher, it's hard to know what is really going on. What caused the thousands of birds to fall dead from the sky? Did Nate really have an affair with his student? This book takes on these questions and so much more. It tackles the bonds of a marriage and just how far a couple is willing to trust the other. It tackles friendship and the limits one friend is willing to go for another friend. It also tackles community bonds and just how strong those alliances actually are.

As the book progresses, I found my opinion on Nate's innocence changing. With each bit of new information given, oftentimes by the other narrators, this change would occur. But it was also the change of narrators that added so much life to this book. So much character development happens, yet we also see just how complex the relationships are amongst the different characters. And it is the different points of view that allow this to happen - we find out a lot about Nate from the other narrators.

I loved that the ending isn't quite what you would expect...I was really thrown by it and loved that I didn't see it coming. This book is full of surprises - both good and bad, and it kept me captivated from start to finish! I found it to be a good, slow-burning mystery and cannot wait to see what comes next from this talented author!!!


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1 comment

  1. Kristin, this does sound like a captivating book. Terrific review!

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