‘Aletheia’ is a very dense novel and a sizeable book to boot. There is a murky essence to this story of a family returning home after a lengthy absence, but does it buckle under its own weight?
Certainly not. Crystal Lake Publishing doesn’t release books they don’t heartily believe in. My TBR pile meant that I had to pass up on an early review copy of this and I was kicking myself. I haven’t read anything by JS Breukelaar before, but the word is she is a fine, fine wordsmith, capable of blending genres with ease.
10 years is a long time to be away from anywhere, especially a place you once called home. The return of the Harpur clan to Little Ridge goes down like a lead balloon. What follows is a tale of lost and found as memories and secrets are dredged up from the bottom of the nearby lake that holds a mysterious island and its nearby residents prisoner.
Essentially, ‘Aletheia’ is a character driven supernatural tale that broods and simmers with an undeniable disquiet, driving you to keep turning its pages. Lead character Thettie Harpur is a strong presence, not without her faults, but you can’t help but become enamoured by her grit. She is at times strong and at others fragile, realistically drawn, she becomes an interesting figure very quickly. Thettie’s love interest, local artist/Gila monster lover Lee Montour, also a pivotal character, has a difficult past, too, and this is what draws them together. Then there is clan leader ,Doc Murphy-a wicked man; a man with plans of his own, he cares little for those around him, a real selfish, money-driven scumbag you will dislike almost immediately. There are other characters, too, that have their own time in the spotlight, again they have their own stories to tell and so I will let you go discover them for yourselves.
The thick atmosphere that surrounds this novel is excellent and really gives it the x-factor. It envelopes the story in a foggy mist of foreboding and malice. Like I said earlier, each of the characters in ‘Aletheia’ is vividly explored; their histories, personalities traits and faults are given great depth and make for an engaging often emotional read, and this is one of the reasons I enjoyed this novel so much. Characters make or break a story and if you can’t connect with them in some way then the book will be a real slog to get through. In regard to the tone of the book, ‘Aletheia’ starts off as a kind of crime novel, however, shortly before the halfway mark something dramatic happens and changes the whole direction of the narrative, taking it into a deeper more supernatural direction. It is a twist I really didn’t expect and it opens up a whole new dynamic to the story.
‘Aletheia’ is a big book, but necessary I feel. It’s heavy on atmosphere and emotion. The writing is excellent, as are the characters. It is a deep, moving, personal journey into the past where some things are better left behind.
5/5 Gila monsters
Pick up a copy from here.