Holly Rae Garcia is a new author inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, Daniel Keyes, Richard Matheson, and Stephen King. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and her debut novel, Come Join the Murder, was released in March 2020.
Content Warning for Come Join the Murder: Graphic violence/death, animal abuse/death.
Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Come Join the Murder Review
Four-year-old Oliver Crow is dead. His little, lifeless body was found in his father’s car, sunk at the bottom of a local river. With her family gone and being forced to distance herself from the only thing that ever keeps her sane—working—Rebecca Crow’s sole focus is on the man who killed her son.
That man is James Porter. Although killing a toddler wasn’t his plan he isn’t particularly worried about it. He has more important things to think about. Like his mother’s living conditions, her greedy landlord, and his best friend, Tommy, who might slip up with the police on their doorstep. And then, of course, there’s his newly growing addiction—murder.
What happens when a mother with nothing to lose but the edge of her sanity comes across one small clue to her son’s killer? How far will she go to seek vengeance?
Alongside the stunning descriptive writing in Come Join the Murder, Garcia does something else that would be difficult for many seasoned writers, let alone a debut novelist; she successfully tackles two very distinct narrators.
I’ve read a lot of novels with multiple narrators, many of them are written well enough to not bring the story down in any way, but this book absolutely blew me away. It would be easy to know exactly where you were and which character you were reading about even if no names were ever mentioned (don’t worry, they are). I even wondered for a second whether there was only one author at work here.
The parallels between the two vastly different characters is interesting to consider and something that left me thinking long after I closed the book. There is clearly a lot of care and finesse put into this novel and I wouldn’t hesitate to call it a literary novel over a genre novel as the theme feels much more prevalent than the murder mystery or police investigation.
The reader goes into this with eyes wide open. We, unlike Rebecca, know exactly who killed her son and why. This is what removes the suspense element, but it’s nothing to be too concerned about (some people definitely deserve to get arrested!), as it instead allows for the slow unveiling of each character’s motivations to draw the story forward.
All of these aspects teamed with well-rounded characters and an innovative structure has created an exciting debut novel. There would be no surprise if Holly Rae Garcia becomes a name recognised alongside her own hero-authors in the future.