On a cold December evening, Autumn Spencer’s twin sister, Summer, walks to the roof of their shared Harlem brownstone and is never seen again. With her friends and neighbors, Autumn pretends to hold up through the crisis. But the loss becomes too great, the mystery too inexplicable, and Autumn starts to unravel, all the while becoming obsessed with the various murders of local women and the men who kill them.
Buckhanon captures Autumn’s frustration at the undervaluing of black women, accompanied by the creeping gentrification of her Harlem neighborhood ... Yet it is Buckhanon’s elegant images of grief that most captivate ... Devastating.
In Autumn, Kalisha Buckhanon has created a narrative voice that’s authentic, emotionally charged and wise, but beneath the surface of the story lurks the unraveling of a life and how 'even the biological imperative to survive' can sometimes lose against the 'power of past experiences.' Buckhanon has crafted a deeply moving psychological mystery with twists that come in unhurried moments like the small notes the sisters buried in bottles in their garden shed. I’m going to be talking about Summer for a while.
Novels of psychological suspense often employ unreliable narrators, but Buckhanon, who’s also known for her work as an on-air true crime expert, employs the device not to keep readers off-balance, but rather to evoke Autumn’s fragility and raise universal questions about mental illness, racism, and love ... fiercely astute.