In the latest from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, three men in their 60s convene on Martha's Vineyard to reminisce about their college days. When the conversation turns to a Memorial Day weekend on the Vineyard in 1971—and the disappearance of the young woman each of them loved—long-held secrets begin to emerge.
Along with his wry eye for irony and regret, [Russo] offers up a compelling mystery. Savvy readers who pride themselves on anticipating a plot twist, spotting a red herring, and identifying the who-did-it are in for a surprise ... a 21st century version of The Big Chill ... When the denouement comes, it’s a stunner. Nevertheless, all bombshells feel earned. If you’re on a hammock in the Vineyard or under a tent in Acadia, or slumped over the fire escape of your hot city apartment, chances are your chances are awfully good that you’ll lap up this gripping, wise, and wonderful summer treat.
Russo has crafted a twisty novel about lies, secrets and a missing friend's 'ghostly presence' ... his latest is often satisfying, a brisk story with memorable characters and smart things to say about loss and missed opportunities ... Two of Russo's male characters...are complex and believable. Mickey, alas, is more a type than a person, a Harley-riding rocker who isn't given many good lines ... As Russo's characters grapple with the book's central mystery, a second emerges; though this one features an unconvincing revelation, it provides a fuller picture of Jacy, elevating the novel above those that employ the woman-in-peril trope yet neglect to make her a multidimensional character.
The suspense may carry you through the first half of the novel, but what works better is Russo’s depiction of his central characters, with their father issues and insecurities about class and money, their ingrained cluelessness about women and their need to present a certain image to the world, even if they’re pretty sure the world couldn’t care less ... requires a pretty hefty suspension of disbelief ... is, at heart, less a mystery than an evocation of what happens when you subscribe to 'the peculiarly male conviction that silence conveyed one’s feelings better than anything else ... can be affecting precisely because these old friends have so much difficulty articulating their emotions.