not merely superfluous, but ridiculous
this post was originally published on my Goodreads account.
This one just about knocked me flat. It succeeds as a page-turning crime novel, as a literary novel with a solid grasp of its characters and setting, as an exploration of evil in the world- everything I could hope for in a 3-dollar used purchase, and more than I’d ever expect from a beach novel. The plot is circuitous without being needlessly twisty, suspects always advance the plot or flesh out the world of the novel (usually both), and Lehane captures the reality of a grieving family following an unexpected death better than any other book I can think of. I’m going to need to read more of his stuff after this.
The only thing that doesn’t quite work is the Epilogue at the end- this is a book that needed a some heavy, emotionally-eviscerating, King-Lear-Act-5 shit to go down in its final pages, and it gets that- but then it keeps going for a final 15 pages that don’t tell us anything the last chapter doesn’t already imply. It’s like Lehane couldn’t quite trust his audience to understand what would happen, so he needed to spell it out, which is depressing to contemplate when he’s created characters so strongly defined that I feel like I’ve got a good idea of how the rest of their lives will go.