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Friday, September 14, 2018

The Blackbird Season - Kate Moretti

The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti

First Paragraph(s):

The day the birds fell, I dealt the tower card.  Everyone always said to never read your own cards, but who...was gonna read mine?
     People believe, though.  I don't, but other people do.  I was more interested in the idea that there was magic in the world at all.  I found a book in the library and I've been reading my own cards every morning since.  But two things happened at once, two days in a row, and you should know about them.  First, I found a blackbird, just like the others.  Perfect.  Smooth.  Soft. Like it has just stopped breathing.  Except, this one had a hole where its left eye should have been.  I've never seen that before.  The next day, I did a reading and dealt the tower card, the one with that one-eyed raven on it.  And then, just when I thought the world was mocking me, it rained starlings.
     I try not to believe in signs.  But sometimes they're just so...obvious.

My Thoughts:

The Blackbird Season is the second book I've read by Kate Moretti.  Last year, I read The Vanishing Year and I fully intend to read her brand new one, In Her Bones.  I saw on another review someone mentioned that black birds and tarot cards were a part of several books they had read recently.  That applies to me as well.  Interesting how certain things seem to trend a bit, even if the books are published at different times or in different years.  In any case, yes, this book does involve some black birds - it begins with a bunch of birds (hundreds) falling on a baseball field during a game.  A curious occurrence and one that had to be investigated.  Naturally, the press is involved and while there, one of the reporters discovers another story - the high school baseball coach embracing a female student.  Later, that same student goes missing.

As in this author's first book I read, the characters are certainly flawed and many are hard to like or sympathize with.  However, I was sympathetic to the plight of this Pennsylvania town.  The main industry, a paper mill, closed, the mall is dying, the kids just want to get out and move away.  The baseball team is still thriving with a star pitcher, but now the coach is in trouble.  He and his wife have had problems and struggles, especially since their 5-year-old son was diagnosed on the spectrum.  Another friend and teacher has lost her husband to cancer and is trying to adjust to widowhood.  The story is told from the viewpoints of four characters: the coach, the coach's wife, the other teacher friend, and the missing girl.  As I listened to this on audio, it was very clear who was speaking.  It was narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Gibson Frazier, Joy Ozmanski, and Rebekah Ross and well done.

The tale meanders around a bit, but in the end, the solution was not unexpected to me.  There were enough clues to discern who and what and why.  I don't think I liked this one quite as much as The Vanishing Year, but I'll be trying In Her Bones.  Kate Moretti has a way of making the reader want to find out what's to come.   

Blurb:

In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.

Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alecia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alecia to wonder if her husband has a second life.

And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.

Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.

18 comments:

  1. Sounds interesting but the meandering would probably get to me.

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    1. I understand. It took a bit of patience on my part.

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  2. Blackbirds and tarot cards played a role in the plot of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware (the birds were even on the cover). They lend an ominous effect. This author is on my radar screen and I have a copy of the book you've featured. If only I had an extra 3 hours every day--maybe then I could make a real dent in my ARC and TBR piles. Not to mention, I'm going to a HarperCollins event this afternoon at their NY offices where I hope to get more books. Please don't read any of this as a complaint--it's the best "problem" to have, lol.

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    1. I agree that we all have that 'problem'. Ha! Hope you had a good time at the HC event! And got more books!

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  3. Those little coincidences always fascinate me--especially when I am reading two very different books and then there is an unexpected connection. I have this one on my TBR pile. I hope I can get to it one of these days.

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    1. Yes, it is certainly interesting how that happens and I think we've all experienced it.

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  4. Love the way this one starts. That opening would make me want to keep reading. :)

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  5. I thought it sounded as if it was going to be a spooky read from the opening. Do the blackbirds and tarot cards play much of a role, or are they just there to set the story going?

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    1. A little of yes and a little of no. The birds that 'fell' from the sky - they were starlings - do play a part, but not a significant part. This was not a spooky book especially.

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  6. It's interesting when books are told from multiple viewpoints - it just shows how many sides there are to every story!

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    1. Yes, I like those for the most part. I also like two time periods, but some books are done better in that regard than others.

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  7. Great review, Kay! Despite the flaws, this definitely sounds interesting and I want to check it out!

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    1. Thanks, Iliana! I do like the way this author tells a story and I'm eager to read her newest book that's just out.

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  8. I didn't love THE VANISHING YEAR, but I'm definitely going to give this author another go. This one sounds especially good.

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    1. Yes, since her books are standalones one might work and another not.

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  9. I read this book and enjoyed it. Haven't read The Vanishing Year, though. Will have to check it out since you enjoyed it more than The Blackbird Season.

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    1. As I said, I think this author has a way of making you want to find out what happens next - good suspense.

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!