A suspenseful thriller about mental illness, the nature of the truth and what it means to be family.
Minerva Day is at odds with her children, thirty-two year old twins Piper and John. Their father, Henry, has just died, and they think she had something to do with it. Keele’s novel follows the strained familial relations and chaos that ensue. In the years following Henry’s death, Piper and John also start to suspect that Minerva suffers from severe mental illness that she hasn’t revealed; their beliefs are spurred on by her frequent strange, irrational comments, her hoarding tendencies and a seemingly constant lack of empathy. The twins’ suspicions are confirmed when Piper and her husband, George, leave their adopted son, Fellow, in Minerva’s care—and he disappears. The community searches for Fellow, but terrible tragedy awaits: His dead body is discovered in a ravine near the carnival where he was last seen; the heartbreak takes a toll on everyone. When Minerva is charged with the crime, it becomes clear that no one—not even her—is sure who killed Fellow or why they would want to. Keele’s well-written novel can be a page-turner at times, though it goes beyond being a simple mystery by taking a fascinating look at mental illness and how it is perceived and dealt with, both by its sufferers and those affected. While the plausibility is somewhat questionable that a person suffering from such severe mental illness would not yet be receiving care, Keele adeptly maps out realistic familial relationships, ones muddled by emotional strife but also founded on unconditional love.
A well-crafted mystery that explores the challenges of mental illness.