Title: Tethered
Author: Amy Mackinnon
Pub Date: 2009
Pages: 272
Genre: Literary Thriller
Challenges: NTMA

Clara Marsh is a mortician which was the only thing that I knew about this book when I picked it up. I couldn't help but be intrigued by the protagonist's occupation.

Clara doesn't believe in God or an afterlife. In fact, she doesn't believe in much. She's comfortable being isolated in the dark room underneath the funeral home where she carefully bathes them and returns them to the semblance that their loved ones want. With every deceased, she places flowers in the coffin, her way of laying them to rest. (Daisies for innocence; marigolds for cruelty in love; asphodel for eternal sorrow.)

Clara's solitary life is about to change when a little girl, Trecie, begins hanging out at the funeral home. Somehow, Trecie's story is tied to an unidentified little girl - Precious Doe - who died years ago. Mike Sullivan, the town detective, forms an awkward alliance with Clara as they attempt to find rest for Precious Doe's soul and save Trecie from the same out come.

I generally don't go for thrillers but this one stood out as something more. The writing was superb, the characters had depth, and the ending was not only unexpected it was one of those JAW DROPPED, "are you kidding me?" moments. I did find Clara and Mike's relationship a bit unbelievable, but what else can you do, you know?

This is Mackinnon's first novel and I definitely will keep an eye out for future ones. I'd put her in the same phenomenal category as Tana French.

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