Tethered by Amy MacKinnon

tetheredI just finished Tethered (click title to place a hold) by Amy MacKinnon last week and I have been recommending it to everyone since. Amy MacKinnon is a debut novelist and this book is such a success, IMO. MacKinnon slowly builds up a character study of a young woman who is a mortician. She is the person in the basement who handles the unpleasantness of death, the draining of the blood, the restoring of the facial features to comfort the grieving family members. She is sensitive to her charges, placing flowers with particular meanings, such as remembrance or innocence, in the casket with the dead.

You find that, although she has been virtually adopted by the owners of the funeral parlor, that she is much more comfortable with the dead than the living and that she may not have had the best of childhoods. One day she spies a young girl in one of the parlor rooms and speaks to her, trying to discourage her from playing in the funeral home. The girl becomes attached to her, however, and ends up coming back repeatedly. Suddenly a connection is made between the little girl and another similar girl found dead three years prior, abused and mutilated. The similarity is so close that the local police think she may be a sibling and can lead them to the killer.

I won’t say more but MacKinnon’s deft handling of character and plot are such that you want to devour the book and at the end you want even more.

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