Tall Oaks – Chris Whitaker

Everyone has a secret in Tall Oaks . . .

When three-year-old Harry goes missing, the whole of America turns its attention to one small town.

Everyone is eager to help. Everyone is a suspect.

Desperate mother Jess, whose grief is driving her to extreme measures.

Newcomer Jared, with an easy charm and a string of broken hearts in his wake.

Photographer Jerry, who’s determined to break away from his controlling mother once and for all.

And, investigating them all, a police chief with a hidden obsession of his own . . .

In Chris Whitaker’s brilliant and original debut novel, missing persons, secret identities and dangerous lies abound in a town as idiosyncratic as its inhabitants.

For fans of Twin Peaks and The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair, this brilliant debut is dark yet hilarious, suspenseful and sad.

My Review:  Tall Oaks is the debut novel by Chris Whitaker and having heard only wonderful things about this book I decided it was time to read it.  OMG why had I not read this book before?  Why is this book not recommended more and talked about more on book groups?  There are very few books that I have read that I feel my review can do it justice and Tall Oaks is one of them.  I apologise in advance if I am now waffling as I am so excited and delighted to recommend this book to you.

The book starts off with the abduction of 3 year old Harry and the devasting ripple effect his disappearance has on the residents of Tall Oaks.  Quickly we are introduced to the residents (and boy are they odd), quirky, kooky, perculiar and some are just hysterical.  I immediately fell in love with Manny, the wannabe “gangster”, Jerry, the helium voiced giant living with an awful mother and Jim, the dedicated but troubled policeman.  Despite juggling a huge cast of characters, the author has managed to bring their own personal idiosyncrasies to life and almost instantly they became real people to me (in fact I want them as my friends in real life).

Whilst reading this brilliant, humourous and wonderful novel I was literally transported to Tall Oaks, I could actually feel the heat and tension the townfolk were experiencing, see the PhotoMax shop clearly and visit the car dealership.  There were several moments I gasped out loud and several moments I laughed out loud.  Tall Oaks is an incredible character driven story, the back story of each individual and the way the author blends them together is pure genius.  This would make a brilliant TV series and definitely goes into my TOP TEN of 2017.

About the Author:  Chris Whitaker was born in London and spent ten years working as a financial trader in the city. His debut novel, Tall Oaks, was published to critical acclaim in 2016 by Bonnier Zaffre. Tall Oaks was a Guardian crime book of the month as well as featuring in Crime Time’s top 100 books of 2016 and BuzzFeed’s incredible summer reads.   Chris’s second novel, All The Wicked Girls, will be published in autumn 2017. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two young sons.

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