Bury Thisby Andrea Portes
That is the haunting premise of Bury This, an impressionistic literary thriller about the murder of a young girl in small-town Michigan in 1979. Beth Krause/i>/i>
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If twenty-five years can discover the internet, the cell phone, this thing called the iPod, can twenty-five years discover the secret of a girl murdered, abandoned, by the side of the road?
That is the haunting premise of Bury This, an impressionistic literary thriller about the murder of a young girl in small-town Michigan in 1979. Beth Krause was by all intents a good little girl member of the church choir, beloved daughter of doting parents, friend to the downtrodden. But dig a little deeper into any small town, and conflicts and jealousies begin to appear. And somewhere is that heady mix lies the answer to what really happened to Beth Krause.
Her unsolved murder becomes the stuff of town legend, and twenty-five years later the case is re-ignited when a group of film students start making a documentary on Beth’s fateful life. The town has never fully healed over the loss of Beth, and the new investigation calls into light several key characters: her father, a WWII vet; her mother, once the toast of Manhattan; her best friend, abandoned by her mother and left to fend for herself against an abusive father; and the detective, just a rookie when the case broke, haunted by his inability to bring Beth’s murderer to justice. All of these passions will collide once the identity of Beth’s murderer is revealed, proving once again that some secrets can never stay buried.
A new effort to close an unsolved murder case reopens old wounds in this enigmatic novel from the author of Hick and Anatomy of a Misfit. In Muskegon, Mich., 25 years have passed since a hapless snowplow operator discovered 22-year-old Elizabeth Krause’s body off Route 31. The homicide investigation, overseen by then-rookie detective Samuel Barnett, lies dormant for decades, until a documentary made by local college students renews interest in the case. Barnett gets back in touch with Beth’s friends and family, including her stoically resigned parents, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles and Dorothy Krause, and her pitiable best friend, Shauna Boggs. With their help, Barnett hopes to put to rest a murder that has haunted the small town for too long. Portes’s short chapters and staccato narration make for a quick and compulsive read. She is also adept at exploring her characters’ insecurities: Barnett’s fears that he has botched the case, Shauna’s envy of her virtuous best friend, and ever-innocent Beth’s longing to experience more in life. As a whodunit, the novel is somewhat lackluster, but as a study in human nature, it’s a triumph. In Muskegon, and perhaps in life, the guilty aren’t the only ones with secrets to keep. Agent: Katie Shea, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Praise for Bury This
"Bury This is a 'can’t-put-down' type of novel for a wide range of audiences. It’s a tale of an unsolved murder, riddled with unexpected twists and revelations. I highly recommend it, especially as a beach read this summer." Sensible Reason
“The violent murder of a young innocent underpins Andrea Portes’s second novel [and she] tells this tale of violence in spiraling prose. Her empathy shies away from nothing in the tangled lives of this small Michigan town, with a young girl tied up tight in the center Bury This doesn’t breathe life into Krause to titillate us but to allow us to participate in the mystery of her death, yes, but also of her life and of small-town America. Portes takes a tale of personal tragedy and marries it to one of national weight. Throughout, her writing about this dirty, awful thing is so fresh it falls on readers bright and clean as north-country snow.” New York Times Book Review
“If one could hear novelist Andrea Portes at work typing, I think the keystrokes might sound something like machine-gun fire: rapid, furious bursts of word bullets, aimed directly at the reader’s heart and wasting no extra ammunition in getting there... Portes captures the fetid, dark essence of Bury This: some people’s seemingly unquenchable, monstrous thirst to destroy beauty. Amazingly though, in writing about it, Portes also creates something wondrous, like the glow of a single jellyfish, floating gloriously amid an endlessly dark ocean.” Dallas Morning News
“Andrea Portes is a natural, and she creates a fever dream with Bury This. Portes writes with such cool grace we almost forget to be astonished by her narrative's complexity. Bury This is exhilarating, a raw, gripping, wintry Gothic, a less patrician--and perhaps more shattering--version of Donna Tartt's The Secret History. Read it and be transfixed.” Matthew Specktor, American Dream Machine
“Witty, gothic, sparse, and poetic at its heart, Bury This is a page turner from the first sentence and a journey into the dark mysteries of the human condition.” Frank Bill, Crimes in Southern Indiana and Donnybrook
“Andrea Portes writes with the tip of a knife, shape-shifting between characters and laying bare their darkest secrets. Bury This is electrifying and elegiac, sensual and suspenseful.” Dylan Landis, Normal People Don’t Live Like This
'Bury This is a stunning, unflinching portrait of a girl discarded but not forgotten, a town shattered by suspicion, and the corrosive power of anger, secrets, and shame. Andrea Portes fearlessly explores what lies beneath our fragile surfaces, what we try to bury in order to survive. This is a raw, poetic murder mystery less about who or how than the more haunting and compelling why.” Tara Ison, Rockaway
“Portes’s short chapters and staccato narration make for a quick and compulsive read as a study in human nature, it’s a triumph.” Publishers Weekly
"Based on a true story, this book delivers suspense but means to be a social study, told in precise, lyrical language." —Library Journal
The body of a young woman is found by a snow plower at the side of the road in 1979 small-town Michigan, and the case is unsolved for 25 years until some film students decide to make a documentary. The effect on the town, always insidious, turns incendiary. VERDICT Based on a true story, this book delivers suspense but means to be a social study, told in precise, lyrical language.
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Meet the Author
Andrea Portes was born in rural Nebraska, and spent her early years living in Illinois, Texas, North Dakota, North Carolina, Rio de Janiero, and Brasilia. Portes attended Bryn Mawr and received her MFA from UC San Diego. She is the author of the semi-autobiographical novel Hick, and has also completed the comic book series, Super Rad, which will be released in September 2013 by Dark Matter Media.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I got a hold of a copy of this and was excited to read it, but sure I wouldn't love it as much as HICK. I was crazy about HICK, to be true. Two words: Blown away. This writing is so beautiful, dark, sometimes funny and just singular. I can't think of anyone else who writes like this. It feels like you are just floating from one characters innermost thoughts to the other, seamlessly. Portes is dark, there's no question. There's a cruelty to her writing that's rather shocking but never for the sake of being shocking. It's an understanding of humanity at it's lowest level, in its most intimate, fearful moments. This is Portes' second novel and I can't wait to see the rest. This is powerful writing. This book will haunt you
A RUTHLESS MASTERPIECE That probably sounds like HUGE hyperbole but read this novel and tell me different. Words can hardly express how traumatized I am by this beautiful, poetic, stunning piece of fiction. I think I might have underestimated this author, actually, as I loved HICK but didn't really see this coming. This novel BLINDSIDES you. The characters are following me around, particularly Shauna Boggs. There is such pathos there. I'm really intrigued by her male characters. This novel's Jeff Cody is as exquisitely flawed as the Eddie Kreezer character in HICK. Her male characters are broken in such fascinating ways that even when they do horrible things it's impossible to abandon them. A lot of times second novels really are a make or break thing. With BURY THIS, Andrea Portes shows she is no lightweight and is, indeed, a singular voice for her generation. Where others go snarky or ironic, she goes right in with humanity, beauty, poetry and a kind of ruthlessness as astonishing as it is beautiful. I am now a huge fan and will be following this author with a keen interest. HICK was great, and I adored it. But this is haunting me in a way I would never have foreseen.
This is a very realistic murder mystery. This book seems to be written a lot from the minds of the characters more so than just a storytellers perspective. This book does skip around a little (it is written in parts) but it all comes together nicely in the end!
Loved this book! Loved the pace. Literally zipped through it (kept looking for any moment in my day to find the time to read it). I'm a reader. I read all types of books. However, I'll be honest, I really only like well written books. Andrea Portes nailed this one. This was a wonderfully fast pace tale with jump off the page characters. The details were meticulous and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Can not wait for Andrea Portes's next novel! This is a definite must read!
A compelling and totally absorbing book, with echoes of The Killing and Twin Peaks. Totally pitch-perfect. Great story and setting.
I was a big fan of HICK. Like I read it about 3 times, actually. I was excited to read this but worried it wouldn't be as good. HICK had a huge effect on me. Wow. I was not disappointed. I felt like BURY THIS was in a way MORE brilliant than HICK, in that the story and the characters are just more mature. The writing is so dark, but precise. She does not mince words, yet there is such poetry here. It's a stunning combination. Some of the passages near the end of the book should be framed and put on the wall. This is a write who somehow manages to walk the tightrope between dirty and transcendent. It's a real one-two punch, and it's hard to resist.
Ocassionally the poetic, lmpressionistic wriiting is deeply affecting, but it can also seem contrived at times.
I couldn't finish it. I read about two-thirds of the way through. He writing is okay. Even interesting at times. But she has a few things just wrong: Caterpillar equipment is YELLOW, not ORANGE! A Lt Colonel is addressed as "Colonel", not as "Lt. Colonel." I'm sorry, but she should do her homework a bit more if she wants to be realistic.
This is one of the best reads i have had in a long time. Did not want to put it down.
This prose is astonishing. There are some passages that should be framed and put in the Smithsonian. Not for the feint at heart, however. The subject matter is as gritty as it is beautiful.
I do not recommend reading this book.