As the title might suggest, this is not a light hearted comedy. Rather it is a page turner of a dark and twisted mystery. With superb writing, a steady pace that is deceptively intriguing, and a single point narration the reader must try and figure out the plot as the narrator does. There are no extra clues from different points of view giving you a leg up on the characters. In fact, the writing is so effective I did no figure out the murder until the very end.
The book starts at the end, teasing what will be laid out in the next 388 pages. You then spend the rest of the book wonder when each of the three shoes will drop. Just to throw you off however, there are plot twists and turns that lead you to think the shoe has dropped, but really it is just a misdirect. Set in a rural small town in New York, but it really could be Anywhere, USA, the deep dark secrets of the townsfolk are pushed to the surface. Each time, you think maybe this one will be the murder. Each time your hopes are dashed as they prove innocent, well of some crimes anyway.
What fascinated me most about the book was not the plot itself. It was a bit of social commentary that was wound throughout the book. Once suspicion is cast, it never truly goes away. You may forget exactly the circumstances, but in the back of your mind you will always think that because they were suspected there must have been a reason. After all, a person must have done something wrong to fall under suspicion, even if they ended up being innocent of that specific crime. So throughout the book, we see families splinter and friends fall out all in the effort to catch the killer who lived among them. The scars of these wounds, they never fully went away forever changing the little town and its residents.
This idea brought to mind the witch hunts of Salem, the McCarthy era depositions and the Red Scare, and the proverbial witch hunts for traitors throughout history. Even if a person was proved to be not a witch or not a communist, the taint of the inquiry never truly left them and it changed forever how their neighbors, their family and friends, and the world saw them.
The scariest story of all is the one that could just be true and happen to you.
Love and things that go bump in the night,