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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Brighton: A Novel

This was another gem that I picked up at BEA this year, one of those happy accidents that I am thrilled happened. I was passing by the booth with a Michael Connelly novel in my hand, and the PR rep was like, "If you like Connelly, you will love Michael Harvey." I was like, "SOLD." This is how I ended up with his newly released novel Brighton in my hands. 

Kevin and Bobby were inseparable in their childhood in Brighton, a part of Boston. Bobby was the older, wiser one, and Kevin was the baseball-loving kid who looked up to him. Then one night when they were teenagers, everything changed, and soon Kevin left town and in time, became an award-winning journalist. Bobby stayed behind, got into trouble, and now spends his time as a bookie in his hometown. Kevin, living a quiet life, comes back home after winning a Pulitzer and gets pulled into a murder investigation by his girlfriend, a DA in the district. Unfortunately, it's an investigation that runs wide and runs deep involving multiple murders, entangling all aspects of Kevin's life. Suddenly he finds his past catching up with him and his childhood best friend is the most likely killer -- and the law suspects that Kevin himself has a hand in it as well.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this book and my dedication to seeing it to the end, which wasn't incredibly hard seeing as how it was a very well-written book. The beginning took some time since I couldn't quite predict where it was going, but when the first murder happened, I was in it to win it. It felt as though Harvey knew these characters as though they were his own friends, and he painted them with such fine detail that they felt entirely real. Their relationships were sufficiently complicated, and there was an equal driving of the plot and the characters to a combination of a satisfying/disturbing ending. Kevin was a disturbed young man who grew up to be a damaged adult, and in turn this created a fantastic protagonist. I hated that his childhood was so rough, but I loved how that informed his relationship with his long-term girlfriend in the present. I also loved how strong-willed and gutsy she was, and it was a lovely combination that made for great reading.

The ending was, in fact, a little bit of a surprise for me. I was surprised by that, but at the same time I was incredibly happy with it as well. A mark of a good book, to me at least, is how I feel about it when I'm not with it. I wanted to get back to this book to see not just how it ended, but to see how it was going to get there. It was a fascinating process, and at one point I cried out a curse word while reading late at night, woke my boyfriend up, and he asked if I was ok. So yeah -- the book was good.

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