on 14 October 2013
What a find Lori Roy is!
I didn't really know what to expect picking up 'Bent Road' but I certainly didn't think I had found a hidden gem. It is hard to categorise this novel. Throughout I could say it was a family drama. A coming of age tale. A murder mystery. A gothic horror novel. It had the best of all elements and provided a genuinely suspenseful read.
I won't give the plot away as you can readily read and access it here in other reviews. The characters are well developed and deep to the point you feel like you know them, which is rare in my opinion. Things like that are very hit and miss with a book you pick up. There was a point towards the end, at 1.30 in the morning, I couldn't put the book down because I wanted to know if the characters were going to come out alright. The environment and sense of place is strong and brilliantly brought to the page giving you a sense of brooding atmosphere, which underpins the entire novel.
I tip my hat to an author who has the ability to move me in some way. Tear, laughter, disgust, horror. If it evokes some emotion then they've succeeded in my opinion. I was genuinely angry, wound up even, at the character of Father Flannery throughout the book, a disgusting man who deserves some old testament style punishment himself.
Lori Roy has a beautiful way with words. The prose isn't flowery or gushing but she seems to hit the spot with every line, reminiscent in my mind of reading Tom Franklin, another wonderful author. For a debut book I thought this incredibly impressive, handling subjects like the influence of religion on behaviour, domestic violence, and the question of how people define masculinity coupled with the disappearance of a young girl, a past murder and sustaining the creepiness and mood throughout 300 plus pages is no mean feat.
I highly recommend this novel. The book reaffirmed why it is I love to read. I'm a voracious reader and usually take a bag of finished books to a charity shop. But this one is a keeper. Grab yourself a copy, you will not be disappointed.