The narrator is Frank Drum, who is reflecting back on the year 1961 when tragedy struck his hometown and family. Learning how to deal with several deaths when he was 13 years old was difficult, especially when one of them was his sister, who was murdered.
Taking place in New Bremen, Minnesota, Frank and his family become ripped apart by these deaths, creating quite a conflict since Frank’s father is a minister. A lot of questions are raised regarding the death of Ariel and there are a variety of suspects which make the story even more absorbing.
We also see throughout the story how the deaths in Minnesota bring out the worst in people when accusations are made and the feelings people have in the town. You could say that many of the characters have flaws which come out as the story moves from one death until the mystery of what happened to Ariel.
There was some hype of scenes in the barber shop with hot stuff magazine and the first year of the Minnesota Twins but I would say that that was about 10% of the book. The other part of the book was the absorbing murder mystery and the suspects that Frank was gathering in relation to what happened to his sister. You never really knew who did it until the very end and Kruger was very skillful in having Frank being involved in everything along with the small town sheriff.
You could also see how Frank is growing up from this while learning to have a relationship with his father even though he doesn’t want to tell him everything. Like many of the other characters in the book, there are secrets and they come out as the book moves along as well.
I would say that this story is not predictable. Frank is a kid growing up and here he is during one summer facing death whether it was a suicide, an accident, or murder, yet somehow, he is becoming more mature, just like his brother. Even though his brother had a problem stuttering and was made fun of because of it, Frank found a way to go beyond that since he was the only person he could talk to. He would learn a lot from his brother as well.
Like the other 973 people who gave this book five stars on Kindle, I would say that I would join them and wish that I could give it more than five stars. Great book that in many ways helped me to remember another author who wrote a great book called Grand Opening. The author was John Hassler and that took place in Minnesota as well.