Black Chuck by Regan McDonell
Published: April 3rd, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Psycho. Sick. Dangerous. Real Dufresne’s reputation precedes him. When the mangled body of his best friend, Shaun, turns up in a field just east of town, tough-as-hell Real blames himself. But except for the nightmares, all Re remembers is beating the living crap out of Shaun the night of his death. Shaun’s girlfriend, sixteen-year-old Evie Hawley, keeps her feelings locked up tight. But now she’s pregnant, and the father of her baby is dead. And when Real looks to her to atone for his sins, everything goes sideways. Fast. The tighter Evie and Real get, the faster things seem to fall apart. And falling in love might just be the card that knocks the whole house down.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this review copy in exchange for an honest review.
“The thing you feared most always heard your call.”
Black Chuck was good. Was it great? No. Could it use improvement? Yes. This story started out really good and complex. The best friend of Re was just murdered and not just murdered but almost mutilated. Now everyone is trying to figure out what happened to him. Real, Evie, Sunny, and Alex are all trying to deal with the aftermath. It sounded good and promising but as the story progressed I forgot about the murder altogether. It became much more focused on relationships and the surprising twists in that aspect than the mystery that was promised. Which wouldn’t be bad if the story was marketed as a romance and not a mystery or murder story.
The writing was good and complex. I really enjoy how the authored layered things and how she played out the plot twists at good moments. The twists were another great thing that had me really surprised and intrigued and turning the page. This was definitely a page turner and fast-paced. I finished it in one day. Also, the author did a wonderful job with the diversity and how she handled the indigenous people. The mythology and culture was my favorite aspect of the book.
The characters were so multi-layered. This was a dual point-of-view told in Real’s and Evie’s perspective. It was interesting seeing inside their mind because they were so different but very similar. All four of the friends and Shaun really had their own inner demons and secrets that come out in due time. The romance was just as interesting. It was not this cute little angsty let’s help each other romance. It was intoxicating, full of secrets, a constant push and pull, and dangerous (not in an abusive way.) But this didn’t come easy either.
Overall I liked it and would probably re-read but it did have something that could be better. The plot, characters, and romance all could’ve used better development to round out the whole story into something more exciting. I wanted the romance to take a back seat to the murder but it was the other way around. And lastly, the writing was good as I said but at times it was so complex it confused me and I had to reread parts to make sure I wasn’t missing something.