Character-Driven Mystery rather than Thriller or Suspense Novel

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I was pleasantly surprised by Locust Lane by Stephen Amidon. When I learned the murder mystery centered around the death of a young woman and the three teens who were with her on her final night, I expected the story to focus on them.

Instead, the majority of the plot featured the parents of the young people - their wealth and influence (or lack thereof), their connections, and their secrets. It includes the themes of wealth, power, privilege, addiction, and race.

The story is told from multiple points of view, including one parent from each of the four youth's families, and two additional individuals/couples. Each plays a role in their affluent New England suburb, and they are connected in more ways than is initially evident.

Along the way, readers learn about the personalities of the youth and the dynamics of their relationships with each other and their parents. The plot includes many characters and it's necessary to track them to follow the story, so I found it helpful to make a list to connect spouses, children, etc.

This is not a thriller or a suspense novel but a character-driven mystery. More family drama than page-turner. Overall, the tone is sad and depressing so readers should pick this up when they're in the right mood for this type of book.

I appreciated reading this via audiobook performed by Cassandra Campbell, one of my favorite narrators, while on a road trip I've driven many times. The bad behavior, secrets, and intrigue made the miles fly by.

Thank you to Celadon Books, Macmillan Audio, and NetGalley for the print and audio review copies.