Friday, February 03, 2012

The Boy Who Shoots Crows

The Boy Who Shoots Crows by Randall Silvis is set in a small Pennsylvania town, but its style and grim tone make me think of atmospheric British crime fiction, or perhaps a little of Patricia Highsmith.

Silvis, author hisotrical thrillers including On Night's Shore and other novels, introduces his small cast of characters quickly, starting with Charlotte Dunleavy, an artist who's fled a bitter divorce to recover in the quiet countryside.

She's familiar with the boy of the title, a sullen youngster given to taking out frustrations in nearby woods by blasting at crows and shattering Dunleavy's peace, especially on days she suffers migraines.

When the boy, Jess Rankin, disappears, Sheriff Marcus Gatesman arrives on Dunleavy's doorstep, to begin an investigation that opens a study of dark  places within each character's soul.

Dunleavy is damaged by her divorce, Gatesman by the deaths of his wife and child years ealier. Loss, regret and sadness are explored as the disappearance triggers grief and suspicion.

Perhaps, under other circumstances, the two might have become lovers, but life has dealt them different cards. Silvis explores the depths of regret as he sprinkles clues about what might have happened to Jess throughout the narrative.

It makes for an immersive reading experience that may not be for fans of action-packed mystery thrillers, but it's a rewarding for those who appreciate a literary tale with dark shadows.


Rick said...

You convinced me. I'll check it out. Nice review.

Charles Gramlich said...

Hmmm, sounds intriguing!

Sidney said...

Thanks, guys.

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