Visitation Street by Ivy Pchoda
(Dennis Lehane Books/Ecco, 2013, 320 pages)
Val and June are just looking for some adventure in Red Hook when they decide to take a float on the bay with their bright pink raft. The next morning, Jonathan, a teacher at the girls’ school, finds Val unconscious underneath a dock but June is nowhere to be found. The police start to suspect Cree, who is one of the few boys left in Red Hook to ever be shook down, as Cree visits the bay often to sit on his father’s boat who was murdered when Cree was younger. Cree is helped by the mysterious Ren who won’t mention much about his past only that he wants to help Cree. June’s disappearance from the bay is mysterious but even more so by how if effects the people of Red Hook she didn’t even know.
I was excited to pick this book up as I’ve heard a lot of hype about it but I was a little disappointed. I think I was expecting more of a mystery novel with some action in it but the novel instead explored the unknown links between people in a single town. If I had started reading it from that point of view, I don’t think I would have been turning each page waiting for the excitement. My favorite character was Ren. He was so mysterious, yet people blindly trusted him. I thought that was an interesting theme that could have been explored more. Also I found it hard to sympathize with Val and June, especially seeing their attitude to each other before they went floating. As a reader, I could see June becoming bored with Val’s friendship and Val seemed to thrive by putting herself in dangerous situations.