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Friday, March 21, 2014

A Crime in the Neighborhood: A Novel

Black Friday last year found me at the used bookstore my mom frequents, Read It Again, and they had a to-die-for sale. I picked up some oldies that sounded interesting, and I ended up with Suzanne Berne's A Crime in the Neighborhood

It's a hot summer in 1973 in the quiet, bucolic suburbs of Washington, D.C. A twelve year boy is found molested and murdered, sending the whole neighborhood into uncertainty and fear. Marsha was a schoolmate and, even as an adult, remembers that summer clearly. The tragedy was intertwined with her own home life falling apart, and when Marsha claims to know who is the killer, lives of so many will never be the same.

I was beyond pleasantly surprised with this novel. If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how much I love crime (especially true crime!). I picked this book up based on the short blurb on the back and I enjoyed it more than I ever could have guessed I would. I loved the period it was set, and the connection between the larger neighborhood events with Marsha's own personal struggles was seamless and positively lovely.

I found myself so lost in this book with such a desire to stay lost. It wasn't whimsical or moving; rather, it was raw and honest and stripped bare. I loved that about this book, that the narrator (an adult looking back on her childhood memories) felt so real and introspective, wanting to defend and justify who she was then while still feeling remorseful about playing her part in the action. The writing was honest and real, and I would absolutely recommend this book if you are looking for a solid piece of work that digs deep into the psyche of why we do what we do. It was really wonderful, and I am so thankful that I picked it up.

Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.

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