Amy McKinnon's debut novel, Tethered, is a bright yellow sunflower in a dull grey world. A haunting, beautifully written novel takes us into the depths of a mortician's life and the fragility of the human heart.
Clara is used to being alone whilst she prepares the dead. She doesn't so much as believe in God or a higher purpose, but she has her own way of honoring those she tends. She lights her candles, plays her soothing music and chooses carefully the flowers she will bury with them. She grows her own flowers in her greenhouse, and knows the meaning of all the flowers. Daisies she usually saves for the children as it means innocence.
Clara had a troubled childhood. Her mother died when she was young , a mother who really didn't set the best example, so she goes to live with her grandmother, a God-fearing woman who essentially abuses Clara's psych. Clara is so used to be alone, it's become second nature to try and absorb herself into the woodwork. She lets know one get close to her.
One day she finds a young girl, Trecie, hanging around the funeral parlor. Clara thinks nothing of it until a routine body pickup uncovers a stash of child pornography and Clara recognizes Trecie in a video. The ensuing investigation also points to Precious Doe, an unidentified child murdered three years earlier and whose grave Clara often visits in secret. Aided by a sensitive Irish cop, Detective Mike Sullivan, to whom she's attracted, Clara tries to unravel the mystery, even if that means confronting her own unpleasant past.
This novel took me by surprise. So full of human emotion, and vivid writing, you'll be relating to the heroine in some way. I couldn't turn the pages quick enough to get more about Clara and Trecie. I will definitely be looking forward to reading more from this author. A new talent who shines as bright as a star. Highly Recommend!!
An excellent first novel from this author. Reminded me strongly of Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects, with the mystery of the main character's past just as intriguing as the mystery that the character is trying to solve.
The book started out a bit gory for me (details of the main character's occupation as undertaker), so I was apprehensive about reading further than the first couple of chapters, but I did, and I'm glad I did. At first I thought I knew exactly what was going on, and the further I read, the more I was convinced that this author didn't have much skill for suspense. Then WHAM! my theory was indeed way off base. The clues were there, looking back, but I went the other direction. Anyways, I would definitely read more of this author's work!
This is a genuinely creepy book, and not simply because the protagonist is an undertaker. All of the characters carry burdens from their past, and it is never clear who can be trusted. A sometimes disturbing, always excellent read.