Sunday, February 21, 2021

Review: Dark August by Katie Tallo

An electrifying, page-turning debut about a young woman haunted by her tragic past, who returns to her hometown and discovers that there might be more to her police detective mother’s death—and last case—than she ever could have imagined.

Augusta (Gus) Monet is living an aimless existence with her grifter boyfriend when she learns that her great grandmother—her last living relative—has just died. Ditching her boyfriend, Gus returns to the home she left as a young girl. Her inheritance turns out to be a dilapidated house and an old dog named Levi. While combing through her great grandmother’s possessions, Gus stumbles across an old trunk filled with long-lost childhood belongings. But that’s not all the trunk contains. She also discovers cold case files that belonged to her mother, a disgraced police detective who died in a car accident when Gus was eight. Gus remembers her mother obsessing over these very same documents and photographs, especially a Polaroid of a young ballerina.

When Gus spots a front-page news story about the unearthing of a body linked to one of the cold case files from her grandmother’s trunk, she can’t resist following her mother’s clues. As she digs deeper, determined to finish her mother’s investigation, her search leads her to a deserted ghost town, which was left abandoned when the residents fled after a horrific fire. As Gus’ obsession with the case grows, she inadvertently stirs up the evils of the past, putting her life in danger. But Gus refuses to be undeterred and is committed to uncovering long-buried secrets, including the secrets surrounding a missing geology student, the young ballerina in the Polaroid, a prominent family’s devastating legacy, and a toxic blast that blew an entire town off the map.

But is Gus ready to learn the truths that culminated on one terrible August night, more than a decade earlier, when lives were taken, and secrets were presumed buried forever…?

Dark August introduces a bold new voice and will leave readers guessing until the final startling conclusion.

Paperback, 448 pages
Published June 30th 2020
 by Harper Paperbacks
4.5/5 stars

It's always fun to read a book with a setting close to home and am familiar with.  I had no idea where or what this book was about, it was part of a SweetReadsBox last summer.  Hearing rave reviews and the book calling my name I hunkered down during the last snow storm and dove it.

Beginning when Gus (Augusta) is 20 years old the story weaves with back memories to slowly reveal a mysterious town, unexplained disappearances and repressed memories.  Although it started out a tad slow it wasn't long before I was immersed in what happened and what was happening.

It's a long winded blurb so no need to add more.  Suffice to say that I liked the author's writing style, it was atmospheric with an intricate plot and a cast of untrustworthy characters.  It might have been a little predictable, but then again maybe not so much. I liked the ending which was satisfying and fitting.

Dark August is a story of grief, closure and trying to right wrongs.  A solid debut that has me wondering when another Katie Tallo book will appear.

This book is part of my 2021 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge

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