Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry is a psychological thriller that has received recognition as one of the "10 Best Mystery Books and Thrillers of the Year" by The Washington Post and won the 2017 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Though I had seen this book searching for new books online before, I purchased this book, not based on the reviews or the description, but rather a recommendation from a weekly email sent by the book's publisher, Penguin Books. I bought the book and began reading it without really knowing what to expect. Even without expectations, as I quickly began to learn that the novel was about a woman who finds her sister brutally murdered and how her shocking secret may hold the key to finding the killer, I was not left disappointed. This novel goes in to the depths of two sister's bond and how their pasts can so easily change the outcome of their future.
After travelling to the countryside to visit her sister, Nora walks into her sister's home to find that her sister, Rachel, had been the victim of a brutal and violent murder. While in shock, Nora calls the police and waits for them to arrive, trying to process the horrendous scene she had just witnessed. As the days go on and the investigation into her sister's murder ensues, Nora interjects herself into to the investigation due to her distrust of the police. She can't return to her normal life until her sister's murderer is found and punished. Haunted by the murder and her sister's past, she believes if searches hard enough she can find the killer. As Nora's and her sister's secrets begin to unfold, the police begin to change the angle of their investigation. As their investigation and Noras's own search unravels, the killer's true identity becomes more difficult to uncover. Though Nora's fears turn into an obsession that put her in danger's way, she continues to pursue the truth until she makes a shocking discovery.
Though the book at times felt as though it was just rambling, it made sense since it was supposed to be Nora's perspective and thoughts. Of course her thoughts would bounce around, she would feel jumbled and unsure after making such a shocking discovery. Once I got into the rhythm of the book, it easily became something I did not want to put down. It was a brief read, as I quickly finished it in three sittings, making it a convenient read if a reader is crunched for time. The book took unexpected turns throughout the entire novel, but the ending was most the most unexpected part of all. Though the ending felt abrupt, it was surprising and gratifying. I briefly chastised myself for not catching on to the subtle hints throughout the book and not making the connections that were right in front of me. But I was glad to have not been able to figure it out because it made the ending more enjoyable. Flynn Berry truly did an astonishing job at providing intense mystery and allure. It is a quick read for any psychological thriller fan, and a satisfying addition to any bookshelf.
Book: Under the Harrow
Author: Flynn Berry
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books; 1st Printing edition (June 14, 2016)
Purchasing Information: Retail Price $16.00; Amazon $12.80; Barnes and Nobles $13.82