Finished 3-9-09, rating 3.5/5, fiction, pub. 2004
“That’s why I came here. I want Gaylene Harjo to tell me her side of the truth.”
“She can’t do that.”
“She can’t or she won’t?”
Teeve leaned forward, reached across the table and put her hand on top of his, but he pulled free of her touch.
She waited for some response, watched for a reaction, but could see nothing more than the muscles clenching in his jaw.
“She was murdered. The same night you disappeared.”
Mark Albright, a Beverly Hill veterinarian, has come to DeClare, Oklahoma looking for his birth mother. Only after the recent death of his father did he learn that he had been adopted and his mother’s name was Gaylene Harjo. Once in the small Oklahoma town of his birth he finds that he and his birth mother are at the heart of a 30 year old mystery. His birth name was Nicky Jack and he was presumed dead when he was 10 months old.
The town is full of quirky characters and villainous men. The stoner Kyle, abuser O Boy, and the helpful Teeve all bring Mark closer to the truth of the murder and his father’s true identity. He also finds himself drawn to his very pregnant cousin, Ivy, and he is able to help her understand the repurcussions of her own pregnancy.
The story grabbed be from the very start and I was entertained all the way through. There were so many interesting characters and the charm of small town life made this a fast and fun read. The mystery of the murder itself was not that hard to figure out, but Mark’s true father was a surprise (and disappointment) to me.
The story had so much potential and for the most part it delivered, but at the end there were still too many unanswered questions. And it was missing depth for me. Mark was a little too cool for me to really understand.
This is the first time I’ve read Billie Letts and I look forward to reading more.