Saturday, June 09, 2018

Moody Broody Mystery a Not Very Satisfying Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Blackmore isn't the kind of place that takes kindly to a stranger nosing around asking uncomfortable questions.  The 2500 people still surviving in the gritty, down-on-its luck mining town are as rough and hopeless as their dying village.  As a newcomer, Clare O'Day sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb.  She doesn't look like a cop, but her inquiries into the recent disappearance of Shayna Fowles—a local junkie—make her suspect.  What is Clare doing in Blackmore?  Why is she asking about Shayna?

Clare has her own issues, although she's not about to unload them on anyone in Blackmore.  Her job is to observe, ask questions, find Shayna, and leave.  It soon becomes clear, however, that her task will not be as easy as it sounds.  No one in Blackmore trusts Clare and vice versa, but to solve her own problems, Clare must find Shayna.  What happened to the woman?  Did someone harm her?  If so, who?  With a town chock-full of menacing suspects, Clare hardly knows where to start.  One thing, however, is becoming painfully clear—Clare's in more danger every day she stays in Blackmore.  Can she discover the truth behind Shayna's disappearance?  Or will Clare become the next young woman to vanish from the sinister, dead-end town?

Still Mine, a debut novel by Canadian author Amy Stuart, is a moody, broody thriller that's unsettling and just ... weird.  It's atmospheric, with an eerie vibe that sets the stage for a mystery that could go in any direction.  The characters are a rugged, violent lot who are almost wholly unlikable.  Plotwise, Still Mine is compelling, but its premise is unconvincing and its ending just made the whole novel feel pointless and depressing.  While Stuart's prose is solid, I found almost everything else about this novel unappealing.  I finished it, but overall, Still Mine just wasn't a very satisfying read for me.  Bummer.

(Readalikes:  Blackmore reminds me of Acker's Gap, West Virginia, the setting for the Bell Elkins series by Julia Keller)  

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (no F-bombs), violence, depictions of illegal drug use, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Still Mine with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.



6 comments:

  1. I was going to say that the town sounds like the one in the Keller series, but without a 'Bell'. Did you know, by the way, that there is a new 'Bell' novel coming out in August? I didn't know. Preordered it right away. Can't wait!!

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    Replies
    1. Blackmore definitely needs a Bell to save it. Yikes!

      My contact at Minotaur sends me all the Bell Elkins books, so I've actually already read BONE BY BONE. It's another good one and I LOOOVVEE the ending :)

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  2. Well, that’s a shame. Sometimes these types try so hard that they just end up being weird.

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  3. That's too bad. This one sounded like it could have been so good!

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  4. I'm sorry you didn't like the book very much. :(

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