Book Review: Brad Street Gate by Robin Kirman

Sunday, May 22, 2016

With the small teases of summer weather we've been getting here in western PA, I have been itching for some easy summer reads.  You know, the ones you can't see to put down and you buzz through them quickly and then look up at the end and seriously wonder how you caught everything when you're brain was reading so fast.  For this exact hope, I chose to read Brad Street Gate by Robin Kirman as Good Housekeeping had deemed it, 'un-put-downable.' listed right there on the cover!

The book is set up like a mystery...kind of, spanning several years during and following the Harvard graduation of three college friends (well, they're kind of friends) that all have a front row seat (kind of) to a murder that happened their senior year of college.  There's a whole lot of kind of going on in the book, which is why I can say I kind of enjoyed it.

It was difficult for me at the start of the book as the story is told in a flip flopping time frame where the narrative reveals itself through the three friends' personal lives depending on the chapter, and almost never in chronological order.  It was hard for me to get a grasp on who was who and why they reacted to certain things in a particular way because I couldn't remember their back story (or hadn't read their full backstory yet).

By the middle though, I was pretty invested in the characters and learning about what exactly did happen their senior year.  It was captivating to me the way the story continued to unfold, showing that despite some drastic life differences following college, that one tragic event was still holding them together.  The story is incredibly researched - so much so that I was mentally giving Kudos to Kirman for how much effort she put into the details of the character's professions.

Just as I was anticipating a look inside the truth of both the event and the bottom of each character and their motives, the book ended.  It was one of those bizarre moments when you look up from the book and say (in my case, aloud), "that's it?"  It was not so much disappointing as puzzling - I didn't feel like the mystery was resolved in any concrete way, nor did I have a firm idea on how the characters and their relationships to one another finally evolved.

There were glimmers of really interesting storytelling, and as I said the amount of research was astounding and admirable.  But truth be told, it wasn't 'un-put-downable' for me.  I don't think it was a waste of my time, just not a book that I would immediately recommend when pressed for a 'good read' suggestion.

I received this book from Blogging for Books, but all opinions are my own. 

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