- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (January 9, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250150280
- ISBN-13: 978-1250150288
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 162 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Grist Mill Road: A Novel Hardcover – January 9, 2018
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"The plot is darkly, intricately layered, full of pitfalls and switchbacks, smart and funny and moving and merciless; the characters are all that and more. This is a powerful exploration of how truth isn't a complete and immutable thing, or a pure force of redemption: it's made up of broken shards that lie buried somewhere in the spaces between people, and when the jagged edges work their way to the surface, they can be devastating." ―Tana French, author of the New York Times bestselling In the Woods and The Trespasser
"Dark, intense, and disturbing, Christopher Yates’s Grist Mill Road begins with a shock and keeps the suspense burning page after page. A thriller with imagination to spare. Highly recommended." ―Krysten Ritter, author of Bonfire
"Christopher Yates's Grist Mill Road is a terrific thriller. A horrid childhood crime carried secretly to adulthood, with menace lurking around the corner, and guilt hanging heavy overhead. Alfred Hitchcock would have optioned the plot in the blink of his gimlet eye. A gripping read." ―Jason Matthews, author of the bestselling Red Sparrow trilogy
"The list of authors whose books I read automatically is very short, and loses more names than it adds most years. Now the British writer Christopher J. Yates is on it, thanks to this truly superb second novel, a dark, roving psychological thriller as powerful as anything by Tana French...irresistibly readable...make no mistake: Yates is the real deal." --USA Today
"Shuffling and reshuffling one’s narrators has become almost a sport among suspense novelists, some of whom take it to excess. This reader, for one, balked when Paula Hawkins in effect brought one of her characters in The Girl on the Trainback from the dead, out of temporal sequence, to supply crucial information. Yates eschews such highhanded artifice, tacking back and forth in time, and from one narrator to another, with extraordinary skill.” ―Dennis Drabelle, The Washington Post
"Two of life's delicious pleasures―gourmet delectations and a sinister, plot-twisty tale―come together in this intelligent thriller." - Oprah.com
"An intricately crafted novel about adult lives forever changed by closely held childhood secrets. Grist Mill Road is a compulsive read that will unsettle you from its first page and surprise you until its very last." ―Jung Yun, author of Shelter
“Grist Mill Road is full of tension and unexpected twists.”
―Angela Carone, San Diego Magazine “5 Books to Read in January”
“Yates constructed a thrilling psychological puzzle in his first novel, Black Chalk. With his second, he’s written an even more complex and propulsive whodunnit laced with questions about moral responsibility, the relativity of truth, the reliability of memory and the long-term consequences of our actions.”
―Jane Ciabattari, BBC.COM “10 Books to Read in 2018"
About the Author
CHRISTOPHER J. YATES was born and raised in Kent and studied law at Oxford University before working as a puzzle editor in London. He lives in New York City with his wife and dog. His first book, Black Chalk, was an NPR "Best of the Year" selection.
Top customer reviews
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The first sentence of the novel reads "I remember the gunshots made a wet sort of sound, phssh phssh phssh, and each time he hit her she screamed". Twelve year old Hannah is tied to a tree as 13 year old Matthew repeatedly shoots her with a BB gun. Twelve year old Patrick covers his ears but can hear it all though he does nothing to stop it. Hannah ends up losing an eye. The book is told from different perspectives - Matthew's, Patrick's and Hannah's. It goes back and forth in time from 2008 to 1982 when the crime occurred. The big question is not what happened but why it occurred. The novel had me guessing until the end.
Matthew is bigger than his classmates because he was left back one year and is a year older. He comes from a poor home and is regularly abused by his drunken father. Patrick is from an affluent background and he has a father with political aspirations. He and Matthew become friends and Patrick less Matthew take the lead in their friendship. Hannah comes from a very wealthy family and is portrayed as rather naive for her age.
We know early on that by 2008 Hannah and Patrick are married. They NEVER discuss what occurred that day in 1982 and the reader wonders what the reality of it is for each of them. Patrick has lost his job and is doing a food blog. He is obsessed with the ex-boss who fired him and takes to stalking him. It appears that Patrick is unraveling. Hannah is a journalist who reports on criminal news. She inherited a lot of money when her parents died so money isn't an issue. Matthew has done well for himself. After serving time in jail for the crime, he has ended up wealthy.
While I found myself mesmerized I was very disappointed with the ending. The pace of the book doesn't let up and I was turning pages late into the night. I especially liked Matthew's characterization but felt that Hannah's and Patrick's were weaker. All said, this is a very intelligent and well-written novel.
Years later, in 2008, Patrick and Hannah are married. They haven't heard from Matthew in decades, nor have they spoken much about what happened when they were kids. But when Matthew comes back into their lives, the secrets and truths from the past float to the surface.
At one point, one of the characters (Patrick, I think) explains his belief that it's not necessarily lying if you simply leave out information. Starting with Patrick's first-person narration and then progressing to Hannah's and finally Matthew's, it's clear that all three of these unreliable narrators are doing just that: telling their truths, but leaving out important details.
I was fully on board with Grist Mill Road for a while. I liked the changing perspectives and the slow unraveling of secrets. Unfortunately, though, the final twists just weren't strong enough or even sensible enough to justify what the author was going for. The impact was clearly meant to be more emotional than it was, but the plot points that led there just weren't all that convincing. (Do I really believe that Hannah/Matthew/Patrick did X for Y reason? No.) It became more jumbled and less believable as it went on.
Twisty thrillers that are truly excellent are few and far between. Grist Mill Road is better than a lot of its competition, so if you enjoy this genre you'll probably like it. I had high expectations, though, and they weren't met.
Most recent customer reviews
I wish I had. I found the book disturbing on several levels. Can't say I hated it, but several things bothered me enough that I wish I could "unread" it.
I read Grist Mill Road to fulfill the prompt of “A book that’s...Read more