My Sunshine Away

 My Sunshine Away

Mysterious Book Report Special Edition No. 6

by John Dwaine McKenna and Lora Brown

This is our second Special Edition featuring Lora Brown, and she’s picked a talented first-time author with a compelling story that unfolds over a number of years.  It’s a mystery about a crime that takes place one quiet summer evening when the narrator was a teenaged boy, infatuated with a neighborhood girl named Lindy . . . who was raped by an unknown assailant while on her way home from track practice.

My Sunshine Away, (Putnam, $26.95, 285 pages, ISBN 978-0-241-01188-1) by M.O. Walsh was named Book Of The Year by NPR, Kirkus Reviews and Booklist when it came out last year.  Lora gave it an outstanding review too, calling it ‘A great read, worthy of five stars.’ (A rating with which I completely agree.)  But don’t look for hard-boiled action scenes full of gun play, two-timing lovers, and serial crimes, because this one’s an in-depth character study, told from the perspective of a fourteen year-old boy–who’s one of four persons suspected of being the perpetrator–as he and his friends spend the last summer of their childhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  It’s a coming-of-age story that’s glued together by tragedy, as the boy . . . now a man . . . examines in detail all the persons, young and old, who’ve been impacted by the crime and the way in which each life was affected as they became adults.  The police are unable to catch the criminal and the boy, secretly in love with Lindy as only a fourteen year old can be, spends years looking for answers that never seem to come.

Told in evocative language that conjures up images of the blazing hot Louisiana sun, the sweltering heat and humidity, the endless swarms of pesky stinging, biting, stinging, buzzing, and stinging squadrons of insects, and the endless boredom of the innocent, as they grow into awareness.  You’ll find yourself thinking about My Sunshine Away long after you finish reading it, because it’s a special novel, about a special time that only comes once in each and every life.   It will be excellent for book clubs to read, because the mystery begins on page one and continues to the last few paragraphs giving readers many topics for discussion.  Enjoy!

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My Sunshine Away



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