Wednesday, June 15, 2011

THE NOBODIES ALBUM by Carolyn Parkhurst

Octavia Frost would like to rewrite her past, so she's rewritten the endings to her seven novels instead. Headed to a meeting with her publisher, she finds that her rock star son Milo has been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, Bettina. (Milo Frost—Do you remember Max Frost from the 60s movie Wild in the Streets? If so, then you'll recognize a few parallels here.) When Milo was 9 years old, his father Mitch and sister Rosemary died in a tragic accident, and he has not spoken to his mother in 4 years. Parkhurst unveils the key to each of these mysteries—how Mitch and Rosemary died and what was Milo's role in their deaths, why Milo and Octavia are estranged, and who killed Bettina. Sprinkled throughout are the jacket copy and final chapters in each of Octavia's novels, along with their revised endings. These interruptions in the main plot are like short stories themselves, are all reflective of the tragedy of her husband's and daughter's deaths, and in some cases are even prophetic. Octavia finds that, while his house is a crime scene, Milo is staying with his middle-aged rocker friend Roland, whose relationship with Bettina is also a mini-mystery. I love this kind of stuff, where the author keeps me devouring each page as she reveals her secrets, one by one. There's even a cryptic note in a sugar bowl that reads, "Someone is lying." All plot devices aside, the heart of the novel is really Milo and Octavia's scarred relationship. His arrest at least gives Milo an excuse to let Octavia back into his life and gives her an opportunity to find out what's going with him, without having to draw conclusions from his song lyrics and wikipedia.

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