As the police chief in a small town, World War II veteran Karl Myers is the prototypical hard-edged cop. His marriage has dissolved; he lives in the brief space between calls–too many that entail the antics of juvenile delinquents, rather than real crime–and reaches for the bourbon bottle more often than is good for him. Not much serious crime goes down in this cookie-cutter rural suburbia, so the brutal murder of a young boy rocks the community. While husbands and wives struggle for perfect outward appearances, inside, two families in this small town are just about to shatter when a brutal murder pulls back the curtains on abuse, battery, and the trauma of a nation.
The Innocents explores the dark side of the family life of “The Greatest Generation.” This is a murder mystery that is less about “who done it” than about exploring the trauma of a world still reeling from the fallout of World War II. Author Jeff Lee writes with an excellent sense for tension and humanity with such attention to detail that readers can feel the choking claustrophobic lives lead by the wives of war-traumatized veterans. There’s a distinct sense of time in the book, which works much to its overall advantage. 1955 comes to life in this novel in a profound way.
As a warning to more squeamish readers, there are points of serious brutality in the book, but they are necessary to the plot, rather than gratuitous violence. All the same, this brutality may offend some readers. Lastly, from an editing standpoint, this reviewer would like to have seen more polish for general readability and tightening of prose, but, overall, The Innocents is a highly readable, tension-filled novel that will hold readers through to the very end.
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|Mystery, Crime, Thriller