Book Review: Tethered

Tethered, by Amy MacKinnon, was published in 2008 and is 278 pages. It is the story of a female undertaker haunted by her past, the dead for whom she cares, and a ring of crime in her quiet town.

Clara Marsh’s greatest need is to be left alone, but when an unsolved murder, visits from a strange little girl, and the attention of a lonely detective intersect, Clara is forced out of her comfort zone and into a world of instability and fear.

I found this book intensely readable and was drawn to Clara from the start. The care and respect she gives to the dead she embalms, the graveyard, and her adopted family, along with her self-destructive compulsions and vulnerability had me pulling for her throughout the novel.   MacKinnon is a master of creating questions in the mind of the reader, making for a book that’s difficult to put down.

It is a very dark book.  The subject matter, detailed descriptions of the embalming process, and the nature of the crimes were hard to read at times. Also, Clara’s extreme fragility was almost painful to imagine.  However, moments of hope along the way, a unique story line, and beautiful prose made it all worthwhile.

If you are interested in literary thrillers, I highly recommend Tethered.  If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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