cover image All That’s Bright and Gone

All That’s Bright and Gone

Eliza Nellums. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-64385-237-9

Six-year-old Aoife Scott, the narrator of Nellums’s impressive debut, worries about her mother, Siobhan, after Siobhan is sent to the hospital following a disturbance outside Michigan’s Westgate Mall. Aoife is puzzled about the delay in her mother’s return home and the vagueness of her beloved lawyer uncle, Donny Scott, about her mother’s situation. Aoife is equally mystified by conflicting information about her dead brother, Theo; the silence around Theo’s parentage and demise; the role of her mother’s “special friend,” Marine veteran Mac Corey; the hostility of her neighbor, Mr. Rutledge; and the odd nocturnal behavior of Uncle Donny. Inspired by her imaginary friend, Teddy, and her actual friend, eight-year-old fledgling detective Hannah, Aoife sets out on a path of discovery that entails risk to herself and her loved ones. Through the honest, winning, and convincing Aoife, Nellums provides ample evidence that the most important mysteries are those that lie closest to home. Fans of Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce novels won’t want to miss this one. (Dec.)