(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Brett has been entranced with Charlie Moss ever since she met him as an 18-year-old college student. Even now, after marriage and the birth of their first child, she's still swayed by his magnetic charm. His blasé attitude and perpetual joblessness, however, are becoming a bit of a problem. Struggling to hold their little family together, Brett is at the end of her rope. She doesn't want to hurt Charlie, but it might be time to call it quits. For her sake and for that of 15 month-old Sarah.
Then, the unthinkable happens. Charlie is murdered, his throat gruesomely slit on the back deck of the Moss' seaside Cape Cod cottage. Wracked with grief, Brett struggles to understand what has happened. Who could have done such a heinous deed? The most obvious suspect is Charlie's mentally unstable brother, Eli, who had shown up unexpectedly the day before. But he's not the only one with motive, opportunity. Was Charlie killed by a passing stranger? Or someone he knew? His own brother, perhaps? As the investigation wears on, Brett will have to face some shocking truths—about her marriage, her family, and herself.
Although The Last September by Nina de Gramont is a murder mystery, it's really more of a family drama than anything else. Its focus remains on the characters and their relationships, not the crime. Brett, Charlie, Eli, and the rest are complex story people. All realistically flawed, only Eli is truly sympathetic. Neither Brett nor Charlie are super likable, both being fickle and selfish. Overall, the novel is depressing, but it's also compelling enough that I wanted to know what really happened to Charlie. The Last September is a satisfying read, in the end, just not a super memorable one.
(Readalikes: Hm, I can't think of anything. Can you?)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language, violence, and sexual content
To the FTC, with love: I bought a copy of The Last September with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.