Book Title: How Will I Know You?
Author: Jessica Treadway
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Fiction
Date Read: 12/29/16
Pub Date: 12/06/16
On a cold December day in northern upstate New York, the body of high school senior Joy Enright is discovered in the woods at the edge of a pond. She had been presumed drowned, but an autopsy shows that she was, in fact, strangled. As the investigation unfolds, four characters tell the story from widely divergent perspectives: Susanne, Joy’s mother and a professor at the local art college; Martin, a black graduate student suspected of the murder; Harper, Joy’s best friend and a potential eyewitness; and Tom, a rescue diver and son-in-law of the town’s police chief. As a web of small-town secrets comes to light, a dramatic conclusion reveals the truth about Joy’s death.
This was an interesting read for me. I found myself putting this one down and picking up other books, not because it was boring, but because it allowed me to do so. There were no cliffhanger chapters (for the most part), and it flowed at a nice steady pace. I was drawn in by the plot and was pleasantly surprised by the killer. I’ve seen a few reviews stating the reveal seemed a bit out of left field, but I appreciated that as I’ve grown tired of predictable endings in my mysteries.
One thing I’ve struggled with over the course of this book is the portrayal and plot progression in the line of racism and race in general. While I felt the attacking of Martin had some realistic qualities, the fact that any other person of color in the book was absent felt wrong. I’ll be the first to agree that POC in America have been treated the very way that Martin was in this book, so my issues weren’t with showing the ugliness and horrors of racism, but the fact that somehow putting one black person in a book “covered the bases” to make this “diverse”. I’m growing weary of reading books that include the “token black person” and only to use them as a scape goat. Even his mother is white in the book. I didn’t mean to turn this into a rant, as this was really overall a well written mystery, I just would have liked to see more diversity in the cast.
Aside from my issues listed above, I do applaud the author for attempting to shine a light on the ugliness of racism and bring up questions of what happens when group mentality takes over and all sense of reason has left us. This book will keep me thinking for a good while longer and I’m interested in other’s thoughts on the issues raised.
Many thanks to Grand Central Pub for providing a finished copy!