One day the blackbirds begin to fall. Naturally, this is something of a spectacle and attention is drawn to the small Pennsylvanian town of Mount Oanoke. With this new focus comes the media and a visiting journalist inadvertently witnesses an encounter that is later viewed as something quite sinister.
THE BLACKBIRD SEASON is one of those “couples” books where a group of friends all have connections to the same crime and the reader gets to view the unfolding story through each of their eyes. Old resentments, the knowledge of fights never resolved and growing domestic discontent all rises up to the surface when a teenage girl goes missing.
The setting is that of small town Pennsylvania. Everyone of course has an opinion on what may have happened to the troubled teenager but no one seems to be that disturbed by Lucia’s absence. To Lucia’s creative writing teacher Bridget, it is especially concerning that no family member was worried enough to report Lucia Hamm missing. Bridget always found the intensive teenager disturbing, and she is not alone in this opinion.
Fellow teacher and sports coach Nate likes to keep an eye on his students, and this includes watching their activities online. Wife Alecia has always found this a little off but is secure in the knowledge that Nate is one of those involved teachers who actually cares what happens to the teenagers out of school. It all takes a different light when the town’s suspicious eyes turn on Nate, who hasn’t been that particularly truthful about the night that Lucia was last seen.
There is lots and lots going on in THE BLACKBIRD SEASON. Author Kate Moretti juggles all of these pans up in the air with skill, never letting the dust settle on any of the adults involved in the investigation for the missing Lucia. Our suspicions are thrown over a small cast of characters but there is also a supporting cast of others who are drawn closer in when the plot requires.
We are reminded in this book that you are only as golden as your last success, and that there will always be people surrounding you eager to witness any falls from grace. The sharks are constantly circling in THE BLACKBIRD SEASON and it is this sense of menace that is never far away. As a dramatic piece, this book would make a terrific film (I seem to be opining that a lot lately about modern crime novels), populated as it is with complex characters that have as much going on in their internal lives as is evident to anyone who now has cause to observe them from the outside.
THE BLACKBIRD SEASON is the story of a missing girl, but it is also the story of how relationships can often be weighed down by the legacy of old ghosts and that how any human interaction is never really insignificant.