In the Matter of Michael Vogel
It’s late summer 1966 in a small town in upstate New York when the body of eight year old Michael Vogel is found at the bottom of the deep end of the municipal swimming pool four hours after closing.
At first, the townspeople believe the initial reports that it was an accidental drowning, despite the fact that the boy’s body wasn’t discovered when the lifeguards searched the pool earlier in the day after his sister reported him missing. However, when an autopsy brings an unexpected result, it sets in motion a search for a killer, in a town unaccustomed to murder.
The story is told from the perspective of three members of the community. One is a twelve year old boy with a future he wants to avoid. Another is a sheriff with a past he wants to forget. The third is a forty year old bachelor with a secret he wants desperately to keep.
Their stories all come together in a startling and thrilling conclusion that leaves nearly as many questions as answers.
A solidly written and intriguing murder/mystery novel set in a small town upstate New York. Yanno writes a chilling story of conspiracy, murder, secrets and childhood. This book has the voice of innocence, of burgeoning adolescent dreams, of discoveries of self and of life. I loved this voyage into 60’s small town America – a time of innocence, a town where murder is not the norm, where families know their neighbours; kids ride bikes and swim at the local pool, play football, watch fireworks displays. Kids have adventures and everyone knows everyone – or do they?
This story is told from 3 perspectives and the voices tell the story well, give different point of views and provide useful background material. This is a story about murder but it is not about the detail of death, it is not about gore and blood splatter and forensic examination – it is a story about murder and people and the frailty of life. It is not a story that will keep you awake at night in fear of the unknown, of what maybe be lurking; it is a thought provoking, considered journey into complex lives. It is playfully teasing; Yanno slowly revealing one layer after another of this complex plot in a flawless strip tease that ultimately reveals the truth about the murder of Michael Vogel.
This is a book about secrets and lies. It about masks – about the different faces we show the world; one for our friends and intimate companions, one for the community, one for our family. Which mask are you wearing now?
This was a pleasure to read.