Bent Road is set in Kansas in the late 1960s and is Lori Roy’s first novel. This is an incredible debut novel, full of dark suspense, and I just hope that Lori Roy can produce more like this one.
Twenty years ago, Arthur Scott left his home in rural Kansas after the mysterious death of his eldest sister Eve. He moved to Detroit, married Celia and had three children. But when Detroit is embroiled in the 1967 race riots, Arthur decides to take his family back home.
But in escaping the violence of Detroit, Arthur brings his family into a whole different set of problems. Celia and the children have spent their whole lives in the city and must now make their way in an environment where the only socialising takes place on Sunday at the local church. And the two younger children have trouble fitting in at school. Arthur’s mother Reesa is overbearing and critical of Celia. Arthur’s sister Ruth is married to an abusive alcoholic – Roy, who many believe murdered Eve. And, Eve’s death has never been fully explained.
So, when shortly after the Scotts’ arrival, a young girl goes missing, Roy’s violence escalates out of control and the past comes back to haunt Arthur and his family.
The novel had incredible emotional power and pulled me along so that I couldn’t put it down. The characters and setting were completely realistic – nothing happened that was hard to believe. The story was told mostly by Celia, Ruth and Celia’s youngest daughter Evie, and while between them they left enough clues to work out what was happening, the mystery wasn’t solved till the end of the book and was not predictable.
My only real regret is that there are currently no more Lori Roy novels for me to read. Hopefully it won’t be too long before she produces another.
Book Published 2011