27 April 2019

Review: Under the Midnight Sky by Anna Romer

Under the Midnight Sky by Anna Romer book cover
* Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster *

As the cover suggests, Under The Midnight Sky by Australian author Anna Romer is a dark mystery novel set in Australian bushland.

Abby lives in a small township called Gundara and has a dark past. She's a journalist for her local newspaper and is obsessed with the murders that took place in Deepwater Gorge many years ago. Her personal level of involvement in the crimes is the first mystery of the novel.

Reclusive author Tom Gabriel has purchased a ramshackle country manor known as Ravensong, and recently moved to the area to work on his new book. Abby wants to interview Tom for the newspaper and despite his aloof and gruff demeanour, they strike up a friendship of sorts. When Abby discovers a hidden room in an attic at the top of his house, they begin to pool their resources and investigative skills to get to the bottom of several mysteries before them. This includes the case of a current girl who may have gone missing.

Under The Midnight Sky is a mystery novel that could just as easily be called crime or rural crime. The Australian setting and relaxed dialogue made the novel feel instantly relatable.

The alternate time periods (present and 1940s-1950s) were handled well, although I did struggle at first with the numerous character perspectives. We had first person perspective from Abby, first person diary entries from another character and third person perspectives from Tom, Lil and Joe. Not to mention third person perspective from the missing girl and perhaps others I've missed. There was no indication at the beginning of each chapter as to which character we were with and I really had to concentrate to follow the plot threads.

Under The Midnight Sky is a dark mystery full of secrets, family trauma, sibling love, burgeoning love, obsessive love and enduring love. Themes of memory and family are also explored with a significant reveal at the end. The slow burn romance that developed between two characters started off well, until he called her 'hon' which made me cringe.

Under The Midnight Sky was an engrossing read but is losing a star because two bodies weren't re-homed/re-buried at the end.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

P.S See my review of Beyond the Orchard by Anna Romer.

6 comments:

Theresa Smith Writes said...

Well reviewed! Agree with you about the loose ends not being tied up as well. I possibly should have been more critical of it about that!

Tracey said...

Thanks Theresa, they were considerable ends to tie up in my opinion. What's the point of solving the mysteries if you just leave the bodies where they are and 'get on with life'. Or perhaps the reader should assume the bodies will be re-located as a matter of course and I'm just being too critical. Either way, I wanted to specify the reason it wasn't a four star read for me, because it's a great story.

shelleyrae @ book'd out said...

A good review Tracey, I like the premise. Thanks for sharing

Tracey said...

Thanks Shelleyrae and you're welcome.

Michelle @ B&L said...

I hadn't thought about the movement of the bodies in the way you have, and of course now I am.
I wonder if they decided that to move them would open it all up publicly in a way that they were trying to avoid. To make it vague and unspoilery.

Tracey said...

You could be right Michelle. It just left things too unresolved for me.