Judith D Collins
By: Stephen Amidon
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: 01/17/2023
Format: Audiobook 🎧
My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)
For fans of Mystic River by Dennis Lehane and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, Stephen Amidon’s Locust Lane is a taut and utterly propulsive story about the search for justice and the fault lines of power and influence in a seemingly idyllic town. Can anyone be trusted?
On the surface, Emerson, Massachusetts, is just like any other affluent New England suburb. But when a young woman is found dead in the nicest part of town, the powerful neighbors close ranks to keep their families safe. In this searing novel, Eden Perry’s death kicks off an investigation into the three teenagers who were partying with her that night, each a suspect. Hannah, a sweet girl with an unstable history. Jack, the popular kid with a mean streak. Christopher, an outsider desperate to fit in. Their parents, each with motivations of their own, only complicate the picture: they will do anything to protect their children, even at the others’ expense.
With a brilliantly woven, intricately crafted plot that gathers momentum on every page, this is superb storytelling told in terse prose—a dynamic read that is both intensely gripping and deeply affecting.
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4 High School Students
1 Unsolved Murder
LOCUST LANE by Stephen Amidon is a slow-burn whodunit domestic mystery family drama of parents, their teens, and the deadly toxic secrets they hide.
A young woman is dead in Emerson, MA, an affluent New England Boston suburb. A brutal crime shakes the entire neighborhood to the core.
Told from multiple POVs:
~ Patrick—an alcoholic father grieving the loss of his own daughter due to a drug overdose and who might have seen the killer while driving on Locust Lane
~ Danielle (Eden's mother), the girl who was murdered
~Alice (Hannah's stepmother)
~Michel (Christopher's father)
~Celia (Jack's mother)
~Eden Perry (found murdered)
The last ones to see her alive and suspects:
Hannah's father, Geoff, a scientist spending his time in his study; her stepmother Alice is secretly in an affair with charming Parisian restaurant chef Michel.
Jack is the youngest son in the Parrish family. His father, Oliver is a fixer and his mother, Celia, goes to extremes to protect her children.
Christopher's father is Michel, and they have recently moved to the US. Christopher had a crush on Eden but was too shy to act on it.
An investigation gets underway, with the story alternating between the various key characters. The parents turn against one another and an unreliable witness who might have seen the killer.
Who killed Eden, and what was the motive? How far will the parents go to protect their children?
Thought-provoking, gripping, and intense. From murder, lies, deceit, indiscretions, and cover-ups. There is a lot of family drama here, which often overshadows the mystery and suspense of the novel.
The author slowly lt exposes the dark side of the perfectly privileged families, with complex human characters thrust into suspenseful, page-turning situations.
LOCUST LANE has an eclectic vibe, crossing between— Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies (family drama), Dani Shapiro's Signal Fires (psychological literary fiction), and Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere (psychological mystery)— versus a riveting suspense thriller.
While it would have been nice to hear more from the teens and backstories versus the parent's drama, diving deep into their psyche, ultimately, it was the parent's perspective. The novel wasn't focused only on the murder but on the lives of everyone it affected and the aftermath.
The ending was thought-provoking and fitting; however, it left me wanting a little more, and I found myself rewinding it a few times.
AUDIOBOOK: I listened to the audiobook, and as always, I adore Cassandra Campbell, one of my favorite narrators. Her voice is so soothing; I could listen to her all day. Her narration made the book and gave an engaging performance for all the characters.
However, keeping up with all the characters via audio was challenging, and I recommend the accompanying e-book.
My first book by the author, and I look forward to reading more. Locust Lane would make an ideal book club pick for further discussions.
Thank you to #MacmillanAudio and #NetGalley for an e-ALC to read, review, and enjoy.
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
My Rating: 4 Stars
Pub Date: Jan 17, 2023
"A cool-headed, red-blooded novel of such ice-pick intelligence that you might find yourself wondering, as I did, when you last read a thriller this sophisticated. Like Lehane and Landay ― like Harlan Coben, too, and Laura Dave in The Last Thing He Told Me, he detonates surprises with perfect timing.
―A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
"Amidon’s compulsively readable, richly plotted crime novel is a tour de force that grabs readers’ attention and doesn’t let go until the final page."
―Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
About the Author
Photo Credit: © Celeste Amidon
STEPHEN AMIDON was born in Chicago and grew up on the East Coast. He lived in London for twelve years before returning to the United States in 1999. He now lives in Massachusetts and Torino, Italy. His books have been published in sixteen countries and include two works of nonfiction, a collection of short stories, and seven novels, including Human Capital, adapted as a film directed by Marc Meyers in 2019, and Security, also adapted as a film and released by Netflix in summer 2021. WEBSITE