Book Review: A Brilliant Death by Robin Yocum—and a Giveaway!

A Brilliant DeathA Brilliant Death
Robin Yocum
Seventh Street Books, April 2016
ISBN 978-1-63388-128-0
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Amanda Baron died in a boating accident on the Ohio River in 1953. Or, did she? While it was generally accepted that she had died when a coal barge rammed the pleasure boat she was sharing with her lover, her body was never found.
 
Travis Baron was an infant when his mother disappeared. After the accident and the subsequent publicity, Travis’s father scoured the house of all evidence that Amanda Baron had ever lived, and her name was never to be uttered around him. Now in high school, Travis yearns to know more about his mother. With the help of his best friend, Mitch Malone, Travis begins a search for the truth about the mother he never knew. The two boys find an unlikely ally: an alcoholic former detective who served time for falsifying evidence. Although his reputation is in tatters, the information the detective provides about the death of Amanda Baron is indisputable—and dangerous.
 
Nearly two decades after her death, Travis and Mitch piece together a puzzle lost to the dark waters of the Ohio River. They know how Amanda Baron died, and why. Now what do they do with the information?

There is so much good to be discovered in this novel that I hardly know where to begin. I’m kind of compelled to say that A Brilliant Death is, well, close to brilliant, never mind the fact that Brilliant is the name of the town in which the story takes place.

Friendships between boys are not featured anywhere nearly as frequently as those between girls. That’s no doubt at least partly because there’s so much drama in girl friendships while the guys just sort of seem to hang together without a lot of hoopla…until, of course, a girl comes between them. Anyway, the friendship depicted here between Travis and Mitch is a terrific story all on its own. I really appreciate the way these two boys are truly there for each other, especially in Mitch’s understanding of how awful Travis’s life is and how much he wants to help. It’s not one-sided, though, as Travis also cares very much for Mitch.

I also thought Mr. Yocum had a terrific idea in making Mitch the protagonist rather than Travis, the one who is driven to find answers to the mystery of his mother’s death. There are other mysteries, too, such as why was Big Frank such a loathsome individual? Why did women keep marrying this awful excuse for a human being? Did Travis die on graduation night and, if so, why? Would Brilliant survive once the steel mills began to close?

And thus Mitch’s tale of what happened in Brilliant, Ohio, begins in the summer of 1953.

I do have to mention one oddity that bothered me a bit. At times, there are two speakers in the same paragraph and I really don’t know if this was a failure of formatting in the pre-publication electronic galley I read or if it also happens in the final electronic and/or print editions. It happened enough that I noticed it but it certainly didn’t hamper me from having a most enjoyable read. Robin Yocum is a fine writer and I can’t recommend A Brilliant Death highly enough.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2016.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To enter the drawing for a print copy
of A Brilliant Death by Robin Yocum,
leave a comment below. The winning
name will be drawn Sunday evening,
April 24
th. This drawing is open
to residents of the US.

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “Book Review: A Brilliant Death by Robin Yocum—and a Giveaway!

  1. This sounds like a wonderful book. You are right, friendships between boys is seldom featured. I wonder why?

  2. Sounds like a great read! Ohio is my home stateand I miss it terribly. I love books that are set in a place that I love so much!

  3. This enthralling mystery, the fascinating characters, the locale and era are all appealing and make this mystery extremely intriguing. thanks for this great review and giveaway.

  4. What an excellent review which captured my interest in this unique mystery. It sounds riveting and the characters authentic and realistic. Many thanks for this feature.

  5. This sounds like a book I will enjoy. Most likely will read it even if I’m not fortunate enough to win the book. Thank you for the opportunity!

  6. I’ve also read some books like that where there doesn’t seem to be an appropriate break in the dialogue. It is often very confusing, but it is probably because we’re getting ARC’s as opposed to finished and formatted editions.
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal – Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

  7. Pingback: My Favorite Books Read in 2016 | Buried Under Books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s