This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.
I didn't like this one nearly as much as I had hoped I would but I did like it. I absolutely loved C.J. Tudor's first book, The Chalk Man, so I was really eager to read her newest book. This was not a bad book by any means but for me, it was missing that essential spark that I had hoped to find.
This is really Joe's story. Joe goes back to teach at his hometown high school. This town doesn't hold the best memories for him but he needs a job and there is one available at his old high school so he does what he needs to do. It is obvious right from the start that Joe knows how to work a situation and can fake it when needed. Joe has a few, okay more than a few, gambling debts so he is in desperate need of a job.
As a reader, you know that Joe has some history in this town, including whatever happened to his sister, Annie, but it takes a long time to find out exactly what happened. This book is told both in the present day and the past. I felt like a lot more of the book was set in the present day but I liked the story from the past a lot more. As the story came together and things were revealed, I just never felt all that surprised. I wanted something in this story to really shake things up but it seemed somewhat predictable for me.
I had a hard time connecting to Joe and really all of the characters in this book. I never felt like Joe could be trusted and he really just felt like a mess to me. I really have no problem liking flawed characters and often feel that they feel more realistic but Joe just seemed to be missing that redeeming quality that I needed to see. All of the characters in this book felt rather flat to me.
I think that a lot of readers will like this one a lot more than I did. I was looking forward to a dark story which I got but unfortunately, I couldn't connect with the characters and felt that the story was somewhat predictable. I did like the book and plan to read more from C.J. Tudor just as soon as it is available.
I received a digital review copy of this book from Crown Publishing Group via NetGalley.
This was okay. I never felt like the story completely grabbed me and found the book pretty easy to set aside. I was actually more interested in the parts of the book that were set in the past. I did not like Joe or any of the characters but I didn't hate them either. Unfortunately, this book really didn't make me feel much of anything. I was mildly interested in how things would work out but the big reveal at the end didn't do much for me.