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CHUM
by Jeff Somers
Tyrus Books, September 2013
208 pages
$15.95
ISBN: 1440570043


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In this dazzling new novel, readers will believe they are on quite a different course than what this mystery will eventually reveal. The book opens with a wedding, the most auspicious of occasions. A group of friends have come to celebrate the nuptials of Mary and Bickerman, a couple who appears to be at the center of a loyal group of friends.

In fact, to readers, it may appear that the focus here has more to do with the vagaries of friendship and love than any impending doom or mystery. That is, until one considers just where and how those relationships might go wrong. The book is about character flaws, and each figure in CHUM seems to have them in spades, which makes the direction the storyline takes even more unpredictable.

Adding to the drama of the telling is the fact that each chapter is told in first person, but that first-person communicant changes quite frequently. This novel is akin to being immersed in a group of friends, in which the reader is able to take on the perspective of each friend at one point or another. In less able hands, this could be a real disaster, but Jeff Somers carries it off brilliantly.

While this book is a very nontraditional mystery, and one might even suggest it only barely squeaks into the genre at all, it is nonetheless a very worthwhile read and comes highly recommended.

Christine Zibas is a freelance writer and former director of publications for a Chicago nonprofit.

Reviewed by Christine Zibas, September 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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