In the small mountain town of Amorea, it’s stretching toward autumn of 1954. The memories of a world at war are fading in the face of a prosperous future. Doors are left unlocked at night, and neighbors are always there to give each other a helping hand.
The people here know certain things as fact:
Amorea is the best little town there is.
The only good Commie is a dead Commie.
The Women’s Club of Amorea runs the town with an immaculately gloved fist.
And bookstore owner Mike Frazier loves that boy down at the diner, Sean Mellgard. Why they haven’t gotten their acts together is anybody’s guess. It may be the world’s longest courtship, but no one can deny the way they look at each other.
Slow and steady wins the race, or so they say.
But something’s wrong with Mike. He hears voices in his house late at night. There are shadows crawling along the walls, and great clouds of birds overhead that only he can see.
Something’s happening in Amorea. And Mike will do whatever he can to keep the man he loves.
As they used to say waaaay back in the day on The Monty Python Show...
And now for something completely different.
"Murmuration" was definitely like nothing I've read from TJ previously. As I began reading and was introduced by the prim and proper townsfolk of 1950's Amorea, one word kept popping into my mind over and over again.
Not in a dark way, really. Just more that actions were being somehow policed, either internally or externally. As if an unseen force was poised to swoop in at any moment.
Everyone had their roles in Amorea, with Mike's being a 36 y.o. book store owner and Sean's being a 23 y.o. waiter at the local diner.
A large portion of the book was devoted to 1.) the development of their relationship and 2.) the strange goings on in the town, which I personally enjoyed; however, I wouldn't be overly shocked if some readers complain that this part of the book moved a bit too slowly. Had maybe a few too many pages.
For me, it came across more as unrushed and I did appreciate the extra page time, for the most part. It helped to cement the fact that Mike and Sean truly were soul mates and their connection was bone (and heart) deep.
By the end of the story, Mike's background is much more thoroughly explained than Sean's, but I won't be divulging any details in an effort to avoid spoilers.
I did enjoy the story, especially once Mike's situation regarding how he came to be in Amorea was brought to light. Things definitely got a bit more interesting at that point and my curiosity was finally quenched.
Much to my delight, my suspicions as to what was *really* going on were extremely close, with only one or two minor aspects being slightly off.
Was it my favorite of TJ's works?
Hello, this is a bit of a slow burn psychological mystery competing against hornless unicorns, dragons and Knight Kissy Face, so no. It wasn't my favorite. I didn't expect that it would be.
Was it worth giving a read? If you appreciate a well-written "What in the ever lovin' hell is going on here?" story, then I'd say yes and suggest giving it a go.
Mysteries in general aren't really my thing, but this one held my interest and kept me thoroughly engaged, so kudos to TJ for succeeding there, where numerous others have failed.
Overall, I'd rate "Murmuration" at 3 1/2 stars and look forward to discussing it more fully once it's released and people begin reading it. I anticipate tons of discussion on this one. : )
My ARC copy of the story was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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