4 out of 4 stars
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Blood in the Low Country by Paul Attaway is a fascinating novel about murder, secrets and betrayal. The story begins in South Carolina in 1977 and focuses on the Atkins family. Monty and Rose Atkins have two children, Walker and Eli. To the outside world, they are the perfect family. Monty has a successful law practice and Rose volunteers in the community. Walker and Eli are both impressive athletes. However, when Rose discloses to Walker that Eli is her son from a previous marriage, it leaves Walker confused about his family and his brother. Rose refuses to answer any questions about her previous life. Monty is a warm and loving father to both sons; however, he is consistently torn by Rose’s cold treatment of the boys. She stresses achievement and appearances over happiness for her sons.
When the daughter of a prominent banker in Charleston is murdered, the town focuses on finding the murderer. However, with a rush to judgment and rampant gossip in the close-knit community, everyone is on edge. Since Eli was dating the girl who was murdered, all eyes turn to the Atkins family for answers. As the search for the murderer intensifies, the Atkins family becomes negatively impacted socially and economically. The story becomes increasingly suspenseful as Monty decides to track down the murderer himself.
This is Paul Attaway’s debut novel and it is captivating. The main characters are multi-dimensional. By presenting their historical backgrounds, Attaway shows the reader what motivates these characters. Also, the way the story jumps back and forth in time is effortless. When a comment is made that requires some historical background, the author devotes a chapter to the event and brings the story back to present day seamlessly. That is my favorite aspect of the book. My interest was piqued by the mention of Rose’s previous marriage and, when the time was right for the story, Attaway provided the necessary historical detail.
The relationships between the characters were interesting and realistic. Families have complex relationships and Attaway presented them beautifully. He presented the internal struggle of Monty when faced with supporting his sons or supporting Rose’s idea of parenting. Readers can understand the pressure he feels as the story progresses. Rose was consumed with a desire to look perfect to others. Through her detailed backstory, readers learn why she behaves the way she does. She is a fascinating character throughout the book. There was nothing I disliked about this book.
I give this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy mystery novels. I also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about complex family relationships. The book has an emphasis on Christianity and includes some Bible quotes; however, it is not a religious book. The story is driven by the characters and the mystery will keep the reader engaged until the very end. There were some errors in the book; however, they were not distracting. Therefore, I saw no reason to give this book anything other than a perfect score.
Blood in the Low Country
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