A little bit dark, a little bit rock and roll.
I am new to Lindsay Ribar, and I’m pretty upset about that, because Rocks Fall Everyone Dies (Kathy Dawson Books, June) is hands-down fantastic and hilarious and clearly you people have been holding out on me. It’s apparently a good introduction to Ribar, because as soon as I’m done with this I am running out to pick up her other titles. Well played, friend. Well played.
Rocks Fall Everyone Dies takes place in a little town in upstate New York where…things are not quite right, in a family where…things are not quite right. Supernatural powers weave throughout the story, and while they feel sinister from the start, they’re getting more and more sinister, and our hero’s role in the story is getting quite complicated. I really enjoy books that take on magic in this way, and the mechanics of Ribar’s magic in this book are totally fascinating.
In some ways, Rocks Fall Everyone Dies reminds me of the the Lynburn Legacy. There are definitely some storyline similarities, exploring how generations of a magical family can become entangled with the town where they live, certainly, but Ribar plays with it in a totally different way. Both authors, however, have a great way of writing this dancing, fun, sharp, beautiful dialogue that actually packs a pretty serious punch.
A superficial glance at Rocks Fall Everyone Dies might have you think that it’s fun with a little bit of an edge, but when you start getting deep into the story, things get seriously dark and complicated. Ribar balances accessibly-written characters with a story that gradually gets darker and darker — it’s like lying on the lawn reading on a sunny day only to look up and realise that it suddenly got seriously overcast when you weren’t looking.
Fundamentally, this story explores how far people are willing to go to keep secrets, and how far they’re willing to go to construct the world that they want. While at first you might think that the main character is a fundamentally good guy, that view quickly starts to fracture as you learn more and more about him, until the story twists again and you realise that his story is a lot more complicated. It raises some questions about ends, means, how we justify things, and whether past history justifies present misdeeds.
It’s also just a really great thriller. Ribar’s sense of pacing is excellent and she pulls you along at lightning speed — I’m actually kind of annoyed that I have to take a break from the book to write this, so don’t say I never gave you anything. She has a good sense of maintaining dramatic tension without going so overboard that it feels overwrought and performative, and that can be tough to do. All in all, I’m pretty excited about reading the rest of this bad boy, and you people should keep your eyes peeled in June. I mean not literally, because that would be gross.