Wednesday, July 20, 2011


There are few books that have done to me what Amy MacKinnon's Tethered has done, which is to take me through a solid, somber tale, leading in a very certain direction and with an expected pleasurable conclusion and then blow it all to hell in the last five pages.

What I thought was going on? Not even. Going back and checking details against what really was happening? Makes TOTAL sense. All of it. A retro "ah-HAH!" moment, or rather, a barage of them, because it was great, and it all fit together like a thousand-piece jig-saw.

And I can't even tell you anything specific about the brilliance, because as River Song would say, "Spoilers!" I suppose I'll need to keep it simple, then.

The narrative--from the perspective of Clara, a withdrawn, somewhat broken undertaker--has a quiet, steady pace, calming even with the often disturbing subject matter. It isn't that Clara regards these things with any sense of flippancy, rather the opposite; her ability to process grief is so underdeveloped it's as if tragedy slides right off of her, until a certain little girl gets under Clara's skin and Clara becomes concerned with the child's home life.

Before it's all over, just about every (living) person in Clara's life is somehow connected to the young girl's circumstances: The compassionate couple who run the funeral home where Clara works, and who consider Clara their child; the older detective assigned to the little girl's case; the younger officer eager to help solve it; and not a few of the former residents of the bodies Clara works on.

Maybe I should have paid closer attention when I put a hold on Tethered with my library, because the novel is labelled "suspense", which might have given me some better idea of what was coming, but then again, maybe not. All I can say about it was that it was awesome.

So, do I recommend you buy Tethered or do I suggest you just borrow it? Well, that depends. How much do you love suspense novels? Are you the kind of reader who appreciates the craftsmanship in a good mystery enough to read it again, even after the mystery is solved, or not? If so, BUY, if not, BORROW. Either way I expect you'll enjoy yourself.

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