Forever Man

Brian W. Matthews. JournalStone (Ingram, dist.), $13.95 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-936564-65-1
Matthews’s debut, a supernatural thriller with a smalltown ethos, drops a lot of tantalizing hints and brief scares into a story centered around family relationships. Elizabeth “Izzy” Morris, a police chief in Michigan’s rural Upper Peninsula, has to confront dueling personal and professional problems when her daughter goes missing and a local boy is found dead and impossibly mutilated. Her investigations run into resistance from the town’s leading citizen, Jack Sallinen, and she is led first to suspect a visiting musician, Bart Owens, who convinces her that the killer’s real target is Sallinen’s autistic younger son. As more grisly deaths occur, Izzy runs up against another outsider who’s intent on breaking up her marriage and turning colleagues against her. While occasionally excessively dramatic and concluding a bit too neatly, the novel wisely focuses on the human “distractions” who would normally be glossed over in favor of the monster, and it presents their emotional pain and fears in a manner that maintains the suspense throughout. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/17/2012
Genre: Fiction
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