by Chris Whitaker (Twenty7) ISBN: 978-1-78577-030-2
Tall Oaks is a small American town where three-year-old Harry mysteriously disappears. His mother, Jess, is mad with worry, desperately reaching out to Harry’s absent father for support.
In Tall Oaks, everyone knows everyone but not everyone’s business is what it seems. Obese, slow photographer, Jerry lives with his controlling mother; teenager Manny is a hilarious wannabe-gangsta with Daddy issues; Jim, the Police Chief has inappropriate fixations; new-in-town Jared is not who he appears to be…The lives of these and other characters entwine and collide spectacularly in the hunt for Harry.
Tall Oaks is British writer Chris Whitaker’s debut novel. Its appeal lies in the plethora of colourful characters (I particularly loved Manny, poignant, yet comic relief), the racy pacing and the plot. The disappearance of the toddler is almost secondary to the individual stories of the characters themselves and the dynamics of their relationships. There are red herrings a-plenty and gasp-worthy revelations throughout. The conclusion is a real kicker.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book; I read it in one sitting.