Lee Martin's second novel, âThe Bright Forever,â is a captivating story about the disappearance of nine-year-old Katie Mackey from a small town in Indiana thirty years ago. Like the comparable âMystic River,â âForeverâ is told from the points of view of the different townspeople and neighbors of the missing girl, each chapter being a first-person account from each person as to his or her version of the events that fateful night.
Martin has created an exquisite page-turner, filled with small-town sensibilities, with the requisite small-town atrocities. One does not expect a heartbreaking crime to happen to them, especially in such a trusting town. In a time when people slept with their front doors unlocked and kept a lazy eye on their children, Katie's disappearance affects all who knew and knew of the young girl.
Each individual narrator of each first-person chapter has a distinct voice that comes alive on the page. The desperate loneliness of math teacher Mr. Dees, the young arrogance of Katie's brother Gilley, and the unfamiliar fear the people in the town feel for newcomer Raymond R. Wright, are just a few examples of the vivid feelings Martin is able to capture without exception.
As the reader absorbs the eyewitness accounts, by default they are seeing into the hearts and minds of each witness. Each quirk, every feeling of uncertainty and all displays of moral outrage are placed in full view of the reader, as the character waits for judgment or redemption.
While the âMystic Riverâ comparisons may be unavoidable, âThe Bright Foreverâ is, in it's own right, a masterpiece that draws emotion from the reader like its literary counterpart, yet deserves its own category of individual praise. The reader will be entranced by the story from the get-go and held on until the end by a string of unnerving suspense and quiet disbelief.
I really liked this book. It was written from the perspectives of 4 or 5 main characters (alternating chapters), which is a style that I don't always enjoy...the author made it work, however, and succeeded in the moving the story along at a good pace. While the basic plot is similar to The Lovely Bones (which I loved), this author dealt with the subject matter differently and told the story in a different voice. I did not find myself comparing the two novels at all. The is a stand alone work, the story is compelling and the characters are interesting and generally well developed. I found myself wanting more, wanting to know the truth, and unable to turn the pages fast enough.
My, oh, my!! What a book! I couldn't put it down. . . first book I've read by this author and now I'll read others.
Good book, but dull in parts
Loved it! Reminded me of The Lovely Bones, Good read!!!