The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair was an intriguing book within a book. When the “author’s” mentor Harry is accused of murdering Nola, a young girl found buried on the property where he penned a famous novel years before, the author rushed to clear Harry’s name, and wrote a book about the murder in the process. The actual novel was split into two sections, the flashback about Harry’s relationship with Nola, and the story in the present that focused on the author’s investigation to uncover the truth. The flashbacks about Harry’s relationship with the author bugged me until the end, when I realized how crucial they were to understanding the impact of the story’s resolution.
At over 600 pages, this was a solid and detailed mystery, but had it been 400 pages, this would have been an excellent thriller. The story didn’t really start for me until about 130 pages into the book. There were so many times the story seemed to be winding down, and but then it veered off in another direction. I loved that I was constantly thrown off balance with the plot. To reach 600 pages, the characters frequently repeated themselves, something I find unnecessary and annoying. A significant amount of time was devoted to each character to provide a background of their whereabouts on the day of the murder and potential motive, but the necessity of this information wasn’t clear until the last fifty pages. Each character was given their own personality that impacted the story. Somehow this book had it all: great writing, a strong plot, multi-dimensional characters, and a beautiful setting.
The book’s publicity touted it as being a fantastic work of literature, and when I reached the last page and smirked at the brilliantly conceived plot that exposed the secrets of an idyllic town and its seemingly innocent townspeople, I had to agree with the accolades written on the cover.