Title: The Memory Bell
Author: Kat Flannery
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Genre: Mystery, Crime Thriller
First Publication: 2021
Book Summary: The Memory Bell by Kat Flannery
Grace Penner’s safe haven crumbles when a body is found outside of town. Gifted the memory bell, a family heirloom, from her grandfather’s will, Grace’s excitement is soon squashed when the bell gets broken right after she receives it. While gluing the pieces back in place, she discovers three are still missing.
Determined to find them, she is halted when the new detective, Bennet James, investigates her family. Grace is intent on showing the detective her family isn’t capable of murder, but as the investigation deepens, and pieces of the bell show up with ominous notes, Grace soon realizes the Penners are not what they seem. Amidst the tightly knit family; dark secrets, deception, and possibly even murder unfold. Will Grace be able to save the family she loves more than anything without losing herself forever?
Book Review: The Memory Bell by Kat Flannery
The Memory Bell by Kat Flannery is a gripping mystery thriller that is full of family dysfunction, long-kept secrets and a healthy dose of suspense loaded with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end.
This story revolves around Grace Penner, a conscientious small town girl, who inherited a memory bell, a family heirloom, from her grandfather. Her excitement soon disappear when the Bell gets broken just after she receives it. While collecting the pieces of the bell, she discovers that three pieces are still missing. To add more in her problems, there is a dead body found outside the town and an investigating detective, Bennet James, questions about her family and their involvement in the murder. However, as the investigation progresses, and missing pieces of the bell begin to appear with foreboding notes, Grace begins to understand that the Penners are not who they seem. Burdened by a grief and sorrow that is tearing her apart, a shell shocked Grace embarks on a mystery quest to unearth dark secrets her family holds, as she questions every aspect of her life.
The Memory Bell is a wonderful novel, it burrows into your consciousness and takes residence. It has an insidious charm with its themes of what it is to survive, love, loss, memory, and the problems associated with doing the right thing in a complicated family set up. The book has a riveting narrative interweaving a murder mystery and family secrets side by side with glimpses of nurture and protection. The family, the roles and relationships within it, is often a can of worms exploited in fiction, the author beautifully explores this territory. Despite the dark theme, The Memory Bell is a beautifully written book that swings effortlessly back and fro between the past and the present, slowly revealing the events and long buried secrets.
The core story was completely believable and is a testament to the quiet courage of a girl from small town. It shows the complex human psychology at work in a family unit. Brutality is juxtaposed against beauty, and regret sings a single note that lasts for the entire novel. The story also features a character study of one of the strongest female leads, Grace, I’ve run across this year. She is human and fallible like the rest of us.
The complex characterisations are astonishingly good and feel desperately authentic. The novel captures the small town atmosphere that can run through its young people, and the atrocious behaviour and actions that result. The strength and wisdom of Grace, given all that happens, along with her desire to protect her family, is awe inspiring.
Kat Flannery’s writing style places the reader right next to her characters. She brings you right into their souls and you feel their conflict, drama and joys as though they were real and not just words on the page. Kat continues to build on the characters’ strengths and surprises you just when you think you’ve got them figured out. The Author has incorporated all the elements that make for a fabulous read, a wonderful narrator, a complex plot that makes you question every characters’ part in this deliciously, dark tale, that becomes more intriguing with each turn of the page. While the plot is suspenseful and the revelations make it a type of a mystery thriller, it is the character development, revealed through the perceptive, evocative, and striking language of the author, that packs the biggest punch.
The Memory Bell by Kat Flannery is essentially a deeply emotional, character-driven family drama, set to the backdrop of a brutal crime. It’s a gripping, fascinating, heart-pounding, unputdownable thriller, a tragic tale of decisions and consequences, of love and how far you’ll go to protect your own, a fascinating character study of people as real as any of us. Highly recommended.