Title: Somewhere Over Lorain Road
Author: Bud Gundy
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Length: 266 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
At a Glance: I loved this book so much. It was moving, gripping, and unforgettable.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: For more than forty years, the stain of horrific allegations against their father has haunted the Esker sons. When three little boys were murdered in 1975, their dad was suspected of the crimes. The immense strain of the unsolved case shattered the family, sending the brothers reeling into destinies of death, flight, and, in the case of Don Esker, shame-filled silence.
Years later, Don returns to the family home in North Homestead, Ohio, to help care for his dying father in his final months. His dad longs for the peace that will only come with clearing his name. If Don can find the killer, he can heal his family—and himself. His own redemption begins when he becomes romantically involved with Bruce, who joins the hunt and forces Don to confront the unthinkable answer they’ve uncovered.
Review: Bud Gundy’s Somewhere Over Lorain Road is riveting. There’s just no other word for it. I was absolutely enthralled with the story from the opening paragraph until the final moments, and went through a small rollercoaster of emotions in between. Gundy keeps the reader guessing up until the very end as to what really happened that long-ago summer in North Homestead, Ohio, but it wasn’t only the mystery that had me on edge throughout the book. Somewhere Over Lorain Road is as much a portrait and study of human behavior and small-town dynamics as it is a murder mystery. And, it’s almost more a survival story than anything else. It’s about the Eskers surviving the onslaught of ill will and ridicule and small-mindedness they endured back in 1975, and coming out the other side.
Don Esker is a successful and sought-after marketing analyst. Graduating at the top of his class in high school and earning a full ride to Harvard, along with a career full of brilliant business moves, have afforded him the flexibility to be able to return to his childhood home and help his mother take care of his father, who is dying of cancer. Robert Esker has one main desire before he leaves this earth, which is to once and for all clear his name and rid his family of another cancer, the cloud of suspicion that the family felt so keenly for so long after he was was wrongfully accused and dragged in for questioning. So, Don agrees to see what he can still uncover on the forty-year-old cold case, in the hopes of bringing his dad the peace he deserves.
One member of the Esker family unfortunately didn’t survive, and Don, Randy, and Tim, the brothers of Rich Esker, think the killer of those little boys forty years ago was as much responsible for Rich’s death as he was for the other three victims. The story of what happened to Rich, and how it affected the family, was beyond heart wrenching. Don, as the youngest, and perhaps the closest to Rich, took it the hardest; it was something he never quite got over.
The story switches back and forth, chapter by chapter, between 1975 and the disappearance of Eddie Tedesco and the murders of two other little boys, and present day and Don’s investigation of the crimes. This format kept the suspense at peak levels, placing the reader both front and center to the events as they happened, and riding right along with Don as he discovers the lies and coverups and clues that bring him ever closer to uncovering the truth. Don gets answers and help in some of the unlikeliest of places, and gets some shocks along the way as well. One of his allies is Bruce, who he meets through his dad’s caregiver.
Bruce is handsome, and confident, and so, so kind. And, he turns out to be a great sidekick, too! He and Don really are an excellent team, in every way. But, I think it’s important to mention that the romance is definitely not the focus of the story. It’s there…Don and Bruce grow to care about each other, and Bruce is a bigger part of the story toward the end. But I do think that the cover, while gorgeous, is perhaps a bit misleading as to the extent that the romance is a part of the story. I didn’t feel anything was lacking in the book; I didn’t personally need the romance to be in the forefront. But, I thought readers who might be looking for more of a love story based on the cover, might like to have some clarification there.
I loved this book so much. It was moving, gripping, and unforgettable. This was my first read from Bud Gundy—from this publisher too, in fact!—but I will, without a doubt, be keeping my eyes open for more of his work. Definitely check this one out, guys!
You can buy Somewhere Over Lorain Road here: