Title: Grist Mill Road
Author: Christopher J. Yates
Publisher: Picador USA
Publish Date: January 9, 2018
Genre: Mystery Thriller
My Rating: 2/5
Christopher J. Yates’s cult hit Black Chalk introduced that rare writerly talent: a literary writer who could write a plot with the intricacy of a brilliant mental puzzle, and with characters so absorbing that readers are immediately gripped. Yates’s new book does not disappoint. Grist Mill Road is a dark, twisted, and expertly plotted Rashomon-style tale. The year is 1982; the setting, an Edenic hamlet some ninety miles north of New York City. There, among the craggy rock cliffs and glacial ponds of timeworn mountains, three friends—Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah—are bound together by a terrible and seemingly senseless crime. Twenty-six years later, in New York City, living lives their younger selves never could have predicted, the three meet again—with even more devastating results.
In 1982, Matthew, Patrick, and Hannah are linked together through a terrible crime. Twenty-six years later, they reconnect.
A dark story told with two timelines, 1982 and 2008. Each chapter was about a main character (Matthew, Patrick, or Hannah), though some were told in first person point of view and others were third person. The back and forth between timelines, characters, and points of view slowed the pace of the story.
The first chapter in the book tells the tragic crime that occurred in their youth, and the following chapters fill in the blanks of what led to that event. There seemed to be a lot of filler in the book, like food blogging, geology, the history of cement, and even explanations of political aspirations of a character’s father. While some of this information may have been interesting, it bogged down the story and didn’t provide much insight into the characters. I never felt connected to anyone in the story, and didn’t much care what happened to any of them. For me, the ending left too many unanswered questions.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.