In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.
Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alicia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alicia to wonder if her husband has a second life.
And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.
Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.
Happy publication day!
I decided to get a copy of this book after reading a couple of good reviews about it. Reviewers described it as unsettling and I get why especially after reading the book’s opening. The first chapter begins with thousands of birds falling from the sky in a small town in Pennsylvania. This incident is quite creepy and I tried to imagine what would happen if something like that happened in my country. However, the residents of this town soon forget the dead birds when a new scandal erupts. A beloved teacher is suspected of an illicit affair with his student.
The story is narrated through alternating POVs. The MCs are Nate (the teacher suspected of the affair), Lucinda (the student), Alecia(Nate’s wife) and Bridget(a teacher in the same school). The story goes back and forth through different timelines. Some sections cover the unfolding drama after the dead birds. Others take place before the bird incident. Others go further back a little. At first, these alternating chapters felt a little confusing. I usually don’t keep details of cheater headings. I am more likely to get the name of the narrator but exact dates don’t tend to stick on my mind. However, I eventually got the hang of it.
Recently I haven’t had much luck with slow burners but things did change with this book. There are chapters that I still felt moved too slow but the book managed to hold my attention to the end. They mystery of what happened to Lucinda kept me moving forward. I was also curious to find out whether or not Nate really was guilty. There were reveals that shocked me and other made me uncomfortable but all in all, the mystery was well built to the last page.
Lately I have been reading a lot of books set in memorable small towns. In this one, the town was Mt. Oanake. It’s the kind of place where nothing seems to happen and most people dream of leaving . I liked the setting since it added a creepy feel to the story. Abandoned buildings, dead birds dropping from the sky, close-knit but gossipy community are all factors that made me like this setting. The Blackbird season by Kate Moretti is not a non-stop action kind of book but it still has enough to keep readers turning pages to the end.I think fans of small-town mysteries will enjoy this one.