Title: Chestnut Street
Author: Simon Landry
“Sam had spent the last two days locked inside the police station. The nights had been restless, as the accommodations were far from luxurious. His mind was still attempting to comprehend what had happened and why. There was also a steady flow of men being led in and out of the holding area, and every time someone new walked in, Sam feared being attacked by the newcomer.”
This thriller novel follows Sam Brighton, a maths teacher, who lives a very normal life with his wife and daughter. One day, however, he finds himself framed for a crime he did not commit, and from there on, he’s determined to prove his innocence. Somewhat connected to a murder 44 years prior to Sam’s indictment, he begins a mission to uncover the truth. But how will he survive when everyone thinks he did it, who will get hurt along the way, and more importantly, can he prove he’s not guilty?
I really liked the story in this book, I enjoyed that there were two interconnecting narratives, and I thought that the little, clever details throughout made the novel really interesting and really helped keep the pace as well! I also thought that the story had enough unpredictability to be unexpected too which was refreshing and I felt the narrative had a great load of originality.
The reason I think the novel jars a little in places was because there were moments which didn’t feel fully developed; one reoccurring trait in the book is that Sam would often elude to a plan he has, but it would take chapters and chapters for him to explain it. I realise the author probably did this to build suspense, but it just made me aggravated that I didn’t know for ages!
Overall, the characters were interesting, if a little one-dimensional, however, I did not enjoy how the men spoke about a high-school girl in the first few chapters. With phases like “She also had the habit of testing the limits of the school’s dress code on a regular basis and proved to be quite a distraction to her male counterparts.” I didn’t appreciate that despite the fact she was under 18, the older male characters, and more notably, teachers, were talking about her in an extremely provocative way. I think the storyline could have as easily been written without the need for this.
I liked the ending, and I felt like it tied up the story nicely, however I do think it was a little rushed. The conclusion happens within about 15 pages, which I do think is quite short time to close everything off, and although it was done well, it could have been elongated a little.
This book had an interesting plot, clever details, and a fast pace. I think it could be more developed in areas, and some of the character traits and dialogue were questionable to say the least, but I do think the book’s positives outweighs its negatives, I enjoyed reading it, and would happily read this author’s writing again.
Thank you to the author, Simon Landry, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.