Rebecca Crow’s four-year-old son is dead and her husband is missing.
Divers find her husband’s car at the bottom of a canal with their son’s small, lifeless body, inside. The police have no suspects and nothing to go on but a passing mention of a man driving a van. Guilt and grief cloud Rebecca’s thoughts as she stumbles toward her only mission: Revenge.
James Porter knows exactly what happened to them, but he’ll do anything to keep it a secret.
James didn’t plan to kill Rebecca’s son, but he’s not too broken up about it, either. There are more important things for him to worry about. He needs money, and his increasing appetite for murder is catching the attention of a nosy detective.
Hi and welcome to my review of Come Join the Murder! Many thanks to Blackthorn Book Tours for the invite and to Close to the Bone for the e-copy.
First, a confession: it was the title that drew me in because it reminded me of Sons of Anarchy, one of my favourite shows to date, and I kinda hoped that this story would be just as dark and gritty and violent and tragic as the show. And let me tell you right now: it was. (Not a biker in sight though, sadly 😉)
Let’s say that you’re a thirty-something woman. Let’s say that you have a son and a husband, and you love them to bits, naturally, but if you’re brutally honest, the one aspect of your life that makes you happiest is your career. Let’s say that being a mum is hard, let’s say that you and the hubby were so desperately focused on getting pregnant that you’ve lost something of what you used to be. Let’s say they’re messing up your kitchen and you’re happy to see them go out so you finally get some peace and quiet in your own bloody house. Let’s say the hubby gets a flat tire and has no spare because you forgot to get a new one. Let’s say a not-so-good Samaritan in an old van stops by the side of the road. Let’s say you’re about to get much more peace and quiet in your house than you bargained for… Surely no one could blame you for becoming… a tad unhinged…
Let’s not lose ourselves in euphemisms: Rebecca, our main character, does not become slightly unhinged, she becomes entirely obsessed as grief and guilt cloud her better judgement, and one could even say she goes a bit mental. No, scratch that, a lot mental. It’s the saddest thing, really. Who of us have never wished for a little break? For our loved ones to just shut it for one blinking second and let us get on with our own stuff? Imagine how you would feel if they went missing afterwards, or if their bodies were dragged from a canal. Admittedly, she goes a bit overboard, and lets her imagination get away from her, and it makes for a harrowing read as she leads the reader down a pitch-black path, reimagining little Ollie’s death again and again, concocting various scenarios, convincing herself she has found the culprit and punishing him for what he must have done. Still, whatever she did, however outlandish her actions, I felt for her and I kept rooting for her.
The other main character is the person responsible for all of Rebecca’s troubles: James. At first I wasn’t quite sure if he was rotten through and through, I mean he does love his mum. But soon I came to loathe him and I had to stop myself from shouting at my Kobo for him to just get a freaking job and stop trying to make a living off the backs of others. Not only does he get a taste for blood, he also hurt a dog, and I’m sorry I love an edgy crime thriller, I can take violence against humans in books, but I can’t take violence against animals. It’s not part of the plot, it’s more of a flashback and meant – I presume – to illustrate what a despicable person James is, and the way his mind works. Goodreads tells me Ms Garcia has dogs herself, so I can only assume writing the scene hurt her as much as it hurt me to read it. It’s a very short scene, but beware if violence against animals is a trigger for you.
Come Join the Murder is an impressive debut and it has put Ms Garcia on my radar for sure, I’m eager to find out what the dark crevices of her mind will come up with next. It is a dark and gritty read. It’s violent and explicit, blood flows and you’re left with this feeling of powerlessness, stunned with the tragedy of it all, in the way that news reports of a violent crime make you feel, if you know what I mean. That last chapter is the hardest of them all and it absolutely broke my heart. I read it weeks ago but I can still see myself sitting in the sunshine, goosebumps all over my arms despite the warmth, holding my breath as I finally found out what happened to Ollie. If you’re good with violence in books, then do check this one out!