The Twisted Thread

Charlotte Bacon. Hyperion/Voice, $14.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-4013-4150-3
At the start of Bacon's multifaceted first novel, untidy Madeline Christopher, an "intern" English teacher at Armitage Academy, an elite New England boarding school, returns from her morning jog to learn that a student of hers, Claire Harkness, has been killed in her dorm room. Claire, who had concealed a pregnancy, had recently given birth, though there's no sign of the child. Madeline, who uncovers a malevolent clique that turns against her, shares her information with handsome detective Matt Corelli, who has his own past with the school. While suspicion swirls around Claire's boyfriend, Scotty Johnston, tension mounts between working-class staff, students, and town residents. Dropped rather than twisted plot threads and a lack of actual detection may disappoint whodunit purists, but appealing characters and the intelligent depiction of an insular community hold attention throughout. Bacon's short story collection, A Private State, won the PEN/Hemingway Award for First Fiction in 1998. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/04/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
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