Publication Date: Available now (e-book) September (Paperback) from Twenty7
Source: Purchased Copy
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 . . .
Tall Oaks was an amazing read – talk about sucking you in and eating up a day, that is basically what this novel did to me this last weekend. Clever, atmospheric and with possibly the most diverse and divisive set of characters found together in one book, Tall Oaks is the story of one community, its rythym and rhyme and the people that live there.
The small town vibe is brilliantly described, holding it all together is the smart and psychological mystery element – just what DID happen to 3 year old Harry – the journey Chris Whitaker takes us on to find the answers is a deeply absorbing, character driven joy to read. Rather than focus solely on the investigative track, Tall Oaks is all about people and the secrets they keep – not all of those secrets relevent to anything external, what you are doing here is watching lives unfold and somewhere in there the answers will be found.
You’ll find yourself totally engaged with every little thing going on – I mean I worried about the wedding cake, briefly considered taking up bird watching and one scene involving a Pizza Hut, a “Gangster” and a whole load of paperwork had me crying with laughter. Chris Whitaker keeps a darkly humerous tone running through a lot of the narrative, whilst never losing sight of the fact that the heart of this story involves a missing child. It is at turns emotionally distressing and then hilarious – in truth life does go on, you cannot remain in limbo forever, no matter the tragedy, this is something that is captured so well.
All the characters are intensely well drawn, the setting is pitch perfect, the dialogue crackles most especially when Manny is involved – oh Manny how I will miss you. If ever there was a perfect character in fiction Manny is it. I defy you not to fall in love. Incredible. They all are but he deserves special mention.
From the haunting and really quite scary opening salvo to the utterly unexpected and totally killer ending, the goings on in the town of Tall Oaks will grip you entirely. The rich and descriptive writing style, the sometimes slow stroll sometimes fast run towards the ultimate resolution, the sheer ability the author has to distract you from the realities will keep you reading until BAM he hits you with the truth in real knockout fashion. Pure brilliance.
Highly Recommended. In my running for book of the year.
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Happy Reading Folks!