A Brilliant Death
A Novel of Suspense by Robin Yocum
Review: Travis Baron's mother died in a boating accident in 1953 when he was just a few months old. Or that is the story he's been told, and there weren't many details to accompany it. He's now a teenager in high school and has decided he wants to know more about his mother, in A Brilliant Death, a novel of suspense by Robyn Yocum.
Travis grew up in the small town of Brilliant, located in eastern Ohio along the Ohio River, the same river on which his mother apparently drowned. She had been aboard a cabin cruiser with her illicit lover when it was rammed by a coal barge. The barge captain noticed the small craft too late to turn or stop, but claimed later he saw two people, a man and a woman, jump overboard. Their bodies were never recovered. Travis's father was furious about her infidelity, and destroyed all evidence that he ever knew her, including all pictures of her. Travis's father told him little about her, and when asked about his maternal grandparents, he told him that they had died before he was born. Now, years later, Travis is consumed with curiosity about his mother. With his best friend Mitch Malone, he begins to search for information. He learns that the police still have an open, albeit cold case, file on the accident. The investigating officer, however, was later jailed for planting evidence in other criminal cases, and was sent to jail. Now freed, the boys talk to him but he has little more to add to what they already know. He does say, however, that he doesn't think Amanda Baron died in an accident, but was murdered. He also mentions that he spoke to her parents — the same ones that Travis's father told him had died before he was born — and they were convinced she would never have left her infant son. Travis is confused. If Amanda wasn't aboard the cabin cruiser, who was? And if she was murdered, who killed her and where is her body? Is his father the key to answering these questions? Travis's high school years pass and by the time he and Mitch are seniors, they have much more information than when they started. But is it enough to solve the mystery of Travis's mother's disappearance?
A Brilliant Death is as much a coming of age story as it is a mystery, and the two blend incredibly well together, each supporting and enhancing the other. The characters are well-developed, the small town setting accurately depicted, the 1970s time frame providing a perfect backdrop to the action, the storyline intriguing and nicely paced, the outcome a surprise to all involved. In all, a remarkable achievement in storytelling. Highly recommended.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of A Brilliant Death.
Acknowledgment: Seventh Street Books provided an ARC of A Brilliant Death for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in A Brilliant Death: Ohio
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A Brilliant Death by Robin Yocum — A Novel of Suspense
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: April 2016
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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