Several friends and neighbors, all with underlying secrets of their own, come together for a run-of-the-mill barbecue until all those secrets, revelations, deep-seated fears, and convictions come crashing down when a horrifying accident unfolds. The aftermath of the accident has far reaching consequences for all the players involved.
I really wanted to like this one (Big Little Lies was delicious and season 2 is expected on HBO in possibly June 2019), but this one becomes a victim of its own complex machinations. At a length of over 400 pages, the constant time and character hopping (to the day of the barbecue, before, after….) becomes tiresome. A former stripper, a childless couple desperate for a baby, a couple with an unsteady marriage, and an elderly neighbor make for juicy potential. The central incident happens just past the half way mark, though, so nearly half the book is consumed with “falling action”. There are so many disjointed pieces that a reader is trying to piece together that you’ll eventually give up. It’s done for maximum, almost soap opera-esque levels of drama. All readers love following bread crumbs to fully enjoy the thrills of a great story, but this story becomes so bumper car-jarring that you will grow weary. This one was a slog to finish.
Ms. Moriarty excels at the deepest, darkest secrets and weaknesses of every day men, women, and children. But sometimes, too much of that is crammed around a central incident and the results feels artificial and worthy of several eye rolls. That is the case here.
Amazon link is here.