Grist Mill Road

Grist Mill Road

by Christopher J. Yates

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Overview

An Entertainment Weekly "Must Read"One of the NPR Book Concierge's "Best Books of the Year"
"Twisty and told from multiple perspectives, this meaty thriller races to a satisfying finish." —People magazine

"The intensity of the storytelling is exhilarating and unsettling." —Booklist (starred review)

Twenty-six years ago Hannah had her eye shot out. Now she wants justice. But is she blind to the truth?

"Arresting...Twisting backward and forward in time, entering the minds of each character in turn, Yates examines both how they reached this point and what happens years later, when the past wreaks havoc on the present....[A] sophisticated...elegant narrative." —The New York Times

"The plot is darkly, intricately layered, full of pitfalls and switchbacks, smart and funny and moving and merciless." —Tana French, New York Times bestselling author of In the Woods and The Trespasser

"Dark, intense, and disturbing...Highly recommended." —Krysten Ritter, author of Bonfire

"Two of life's delicious pleasures—gourmet delectations and a sinister, plot-twisty tale—come together in this intelligent thriller." —Oprah.com

Christopher J. Yates’s cult hit Black Chalk introduced that rare writerly talent: a literary writer who could write a plot with the intricacy of a brilliant mental puzzle, and with characters so absorbing that readers are immediately gripped. Yates’s new book does not disappoint. Grist Mill Road is a dark, twisted, and expertly plotted Rashomon-style tale. The year is 1982; the setting, an Edenic hamlet some ninety miles north of New York City. There, among the craggy rock cliffs and glacial ponds of timeworn mountains, three friends—Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah—are bound together by a terrible and seemingly senseless crime. Twenty-six years later, in New York City, living lives their younger selves never could have predicted, the three meet again—with even more devastating results.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250150318
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 01/09/2018
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 48,396
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

CHRISTOPHER J. YATES was born and raised in Kent and studied law at Oxford University before working as a puzzle editor in London. He lives in New York City with his wife and dog. His first book, Black Chalk, was an NPR "Best of the Year" selection.
CHRISTOPHER J. YATES was born and raised in Kent and studied law at Oxford University before working as a puzzle editor in London. He now lives in New York City with his wife and dog. 'Black Chalk' is his debut novel.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

PATCH

I remember the gunshots made a wet sort of sound, phssh phssh phssh, and each time he hit her she screamed. Do the math and the whole thing probably went on for as long as ten minutes. I just stood there and watched.

I don't know when I realized I was counting. Eight, nine, ten. For a long time it seemed as if all sensation, everything but my eyesight, had been switched off. But once I realized I was keeping track of the shots — eighteen, nineteen, twenty — it felt like something I could cling to because my sense of balance had been switched off along with everything else. I was standing on the nauseating brink of something I didn't want to fall into, a world beyond comprehension.

Twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight.

This wasn't real life, this was a show. And this show wasn't for me, I wasn't even allowed to stay up late enough to watch this sort of show. No, none of it made any sense, a silent movie with Russian subtitles.

And yet I watched.

What does it mean to watch? When a crime takes place in front you, what is watching? Is it a failure to act or is it simply keeping your eyes open?

I was twelve. I was twelve years old.

Forty-one, forty-two, forty-three ... although the newspapers reported Hannah had been shot only thirty-seven times with my Red Ryder BB gun, so maybe Matthew missed a few times, or more likely some of the pellets simply glanced off the ropes. He had used so much rope, I imagine he had to be taking careful aim at the gaps. We were both pretty good shots by then — I could plunk a soda can one-handed from thirty steps and Matthew no doubt thought himself a better shot than me. No way, José.

I figured everything was winding down now. Hannah's screaming was slowly becoming less and less. And between the screaming there was crying and that also was becoming less and less.

Until —

When Matthew pulled the trigger the forty-ninth and final time, there was only half a scream, a sharp yelp that died quickly in Hannah's throat. And that yelp was a sickening enough sound on its own but it is the absence of the second half of her scream that rings loudest in my memory.

I can still picture it as well, the way Hannah's head twisted despite the rope tied around her neck, a reflex that had come absurdly too late.

The woods fell ever more silent. It felt like the moment in a storm when you see the flash of lightning and wait for the thunderclap. Is it closer?

And then Hannah's head drifted back. And her chin dropped to her chest. And her long dark hair fell over her face.

Matthew stayed as still as a lead soldier and I did the same, fused to a plate of the earth, not even breathing, just trying to exert some small measure of control over my life for a few final seconds. The world at that moment was reduced to a thin sort of strip like a newspaper cartoon, a ribbon of life that started with Matthew, the butt of the rifle wedged at his shoulder, and ended two frames later with Hannah, motionless, tied to a tree.

But then came a sound that snapped us both out of it, something small scurrying through the undergrowth, Matthew's head jolting and his body coming alive. He leaned the gun carefully, almost respectfully, against a rock and began to creep forward, stopping an arm's length away and peering in at Hannah like she was darkness in a cave.

He picked up a stick and prodded her arm.

Nothing.

He jabbed again, Hannah's flesh like dough, a small crater of skin filling itself back in. Raising the stick higher, he hesitated a moment. What kind of a world might exist beyond the curtain?

And then Matthew parted her hair. That's when I first noticed the blood dripping from Hannah's chin, soaking the neckline of her T-shirt, its pink collar crimsoning.

I spun around and spat on the ground, my eyes beginning to scope the woods, looking to see if anyone else might have witnessed it all. When I turned back, Matthew still had his stick under her hair, standing there with his head to one side, as if reading spines in a bookstore.

Hey, come take a look, he said.

I pressed the heel of my hand to the bridge of my nose, trying to push out the gathering sense in my forehead, a new universe exploding.

The BB's gone right through her eye, said Matthew. Straight into her brain. She's stone-cold dead.

I couldn't rub my forehead hard enough to make the pressure go away so I started to hit myself instead, thump thump thump. Still to this day the heel of my hand fits perfectly into the hollow between my nose and my brow.

I said come here, said Matthew, turning to me. We haven't got the whole damn day, Tricky.

It was only Matthew who called me Tricky. To everyone else I was Patch or Patrick, or sometimes Paddy or Paddyboy to my dad. But Matthew was Matthew to everyone, me included. He'd never let you shorten his name, would even correct adults if they tried on a Matt or a Matty to see if it fit. My name's Matthew, he would say every time, very calm and straightforward.

Sniffing, I started to move, feeling like old kings must've felt taking their final steps to the executioner's block — which is a selfish way to think of it but that's just how it was at the time. I walked as steadily as I could toward the two figures connected by a stick and when I stopped, Matthew pulled me closer, positioning me at the perfect spot. What do you think, Tricky? he said.

Swallowing hard, I ran my eyes along Hannah's measled arms, up to the circle of rope burn like a choker around her neck. And then, not turning to face her, but with grimacing eyes, I peeked beneath Matthew's stick. There was nothing but blood and mess and some of the blood was already congealing. Blackness and wetness and skin. Hannah's left eye socket looked like it was housing a dark smashed plum.

Yeah, I said, trying not to cry. She's dead.

Matthew dropped the stick.

We didn't check for breathing. We didn't feel for a pulse.

I stood there for a moment and then Matthew tugged me, not unkindly, hooking his fingers in the back of my shirt to break the spell.

We didn't make the sign of the cross. We didn't pray for her soul.

There are layers of rock piled high everywhere in the Swangum Mountains like stacks of pancakes. Our failures were mounting as well. We didn't even cut her down.

* * *

I DON'T KNOW WHAT AN ideal childhood is, but I know until that Wednesday, one hot yellow day of 1982, I believed I was living it. Believed my parents were happy, that I was growing up in the best place on earth, probably still believed in ghosts, UFOs, tarot cards and the purity of major league baseball.

My hometown was Roseborn, ninety miles north of New York City, far enough away from that inferno that we felt safe from its everyday dangers of casual pornography, recreational murder and heroin on tap. Best of all we had the Swangum Mountains, a ridge of blazing white rock like a wall at our town's northern edge, the world's greatest backyard for an adventurous boy.

There were pitch pines up there and blueberry bushes and turkey vultures overhead. And sometimes you might get a hiker come by but mostly you wouldn't see anyone, not on weekdays at least. I loved it best in the dog days of summer vacation, heat stippling the air, incessant shrill of insects.

My favorite place was the lake. I told Matthew it was the ice caves but really it was the lake. The smooth water made the air feel loose, especially when the sun was out and the world with a breeze.

I remember our time up there all bleached like old photos, the sky more bright than blue, rocks with a hazy glare and our bicycles two different shades of baked orange. The year before we had ridden them up there, three panting miles, the whole summer long.

Beneath the wide mountain skies we could be whoever we wanted — Luke and Bo Duke, Starbuck and Apollo, the Lone Ranger and Tonto — playing our parts without inhibition, inventing our own boyhood games away from the critical gaze of adults. Rifle Range, Deer Patrol, Houdini. We were free to roam wherever we wanted — in my case, so long as I was home and scrubbed up in time for dinner — but also we had our own base, a secret spot you reached by pushing through a thicket of mountain laurel. That was where we built our secret fort, mostly from stuff we scavenged from the abandoned blueberry pickers' huts. We kept supplies there and plunked soda cans with my Red Ryder BB gun, an air rifle named for that comic strip cowboy, designed to look like a Winchester rifle. The same kind of gun you see in the movie A Christmas Story, the one Ralphie dreams about — You'll shoot your eye out, kid! — only mine didn't have a compass in the stock or a thing to tell the time.

The Red Ryder was our weapon of choice for Deer Patrol but as well as the BB gun we had a hunting knife with a scrimshaw handle and a Swiss Army knife. One time we crafted a spear from a piece of bamboo we took from Effy Scott's yard, the tomato plant collapsing under the weight of green fruit. We used rubber bands and a big nail we found at one of the old cement works. We took everything up to the Swangums to piece our weapon together and spent a lot of time making intricate adjustments, weighting the thing with small stones inside for the right sort of balance, ensuring the nail was tight enough to the bamboo that it wouldn't deflect when it met with its target. We wanted to be sure the point of the spear would embed. It took us an hour or more but the conclusion of the whole episode was over in just a few seconds.

Matthew had hold of the spear when we agreed it was ready and he told me to run, just that one word barked out like I'd made him angry for no particular reason.

What?

Run! he repeated, higher-pitched this time.

He had started to get a sense of the spear's weight, holding it lightly at his shoulder and feeling for the right sort of grip, fingers fluttering as if playing the flute.

I find it hard now to believe his intention took me so long to discern. I stood there awkwardly, unsure what to do, while Matthew closed one eye and started to line me up along the shaft of the spear, this spear we had made together. I really do think it took me three or four seconds before everything finally clicked.

And I ran.

I ran, not looking back until I heard the rippling sound it made pushing its knuckled length through the air, turning just in time to glimpse the spear a moment before it sunk its nose into my calf. When it dug in, it dug in far enough that it stayed there for seven or eight paces as I started to slow, the tail of the spear rattling on the stony ground below.

Now comes the hardest part of the story for me to relate to in adulthood and yet I'm certain this actually happened. I turned and picked up the spear, which had now disengaged from my leg a few yards behind me, and took the thing back to him. Like some kind of bird dog.

Matthew, looking immensely proud, reached out with both hands, palms facing skyward. Closing his fists around the shaft, he flexed the thing, gave it a slight and single shake. It was a good spear. It had flown true. Twenty, thirty yards.

He rested our weapon against a tree, gripped me by the shoulders and turned me around while whistling one of those long dying notes like when you read how much money some lucky guy has just won on the lottery.

When I twisted to peer over my shoulder, down past my shorts, I saw the hole in my calf and the blood. Not so much blood but enough to trickle down into the heel of my sneaker.

Cool wound, he said.

I looked over at the spear. The nail at its tip was pretty rusty and I don't remember if I knew about tetanus back then but I knew I should probably tell someone what happened. Although I suppose the reason I didn't speaks volumes about me as a kid. I would never have said anything because I felt ashamed, worried it was me who would get in trouble. So instead of telling anyone, I wore long pants for a week and fretted over how I would answer the question if somebody asked me why. Although why anyone would have asked me why I was wearing long pants, I have no idea.

OK, stay put a minute, said Matthew, moving for the spear again, me twitching like I might break into another sprint. Hey, I said don't move, Matthew shouted, pointing his finger.

Run. Run. Stay put. Don't move.

I began to notice the sting in the hole in my leg.

Matthew took off his T-shirt and I swear I thought he was going to bend down and smear himself all over with mud or the juice of crushed berries. When he picked up the spear, I closed my eyes.

A few seconds later I heard a tearing sound. Opening my eyes, I saw that Matthew had the arm ripped off his tee and was using the tip of our spear to make a notch in the cloth. Next he tore the thing into a strip and beckoned me turn. And then Matthew spat into his hand and wiped the blood from my calf, me wincing when his spittly fingers stung the raw wound. Once my leg was clean he bandaged it with the cloth, stretching it taut, wrapping it twice and tying a firm knot at my shin. When he was done, he pulled on his lopsided tee.

Let's go find some deer, Tricky, he said.

* * *

THE SWANGUM SHOOTING, AS IT came to be known, took place almost exactly a year after Matthew stuck me with our spear. We'd spent every day of that previous summer together. But in 1982, things went a little differently.

First of all, six weeks before the shooting, there was the accident, news of which spread around Roseborn the day before July Fourth. I was bummed because for a long time after that I didn't get to see Matthew, my parents having told me that I had to give him some space, that Matthew needed time to grieve with his family. So the next time I saw him, Wednesday, August 18, it felt like we'd lost a whole summer together.

Before heading up that morning, I'd arrived at our usual meeting spot only to see a girl alongside Matthew, Hannah Jensen straddling her bike. She was in dark jeans and a pink T-shirt with a cartoon ice-cream cone on the front. I suppose I thought her being there must've had something to do with the grieving, maybe Matthew needed the emotional support of the female sex or something like that. To be fair, I wouldn't have been much help on that front. And although Hannah was also in seventh grade, she wasn't in our class, so her being there didn't exactly make sense to me. Anyway, whatever the exact reason for her presence, I felt pretty sore about Hannah's intrusion.

I assumed the plan was to show her the usual spots and do the usual things. It was the first time we'd taken anyone with us, let alone a girl, and probably we wouldn't find any deer and then we'd show her our secret fort and plunk some soda cans and maybe Matthew would try to make out with her. Because although we were just kids, Matthew was a country mile further along that snaky path toward manhood than anyone else in seventh grade. Me especially.

For several weeks after his arrival in Roseborn, the major talking point for everyone in our class was that Matthew had grown up in New York City. But it wasn't only his big city upbringing that made him seem more grown up than the rest of us, he actually was more grown up, having been held back a year before moving upstate. And so being an older kid — over a year and a half older than me — when Matthew got dropped into our class at the beginning of sixth grade, he landed with an almighty splash. It was as if a stone giant had been thrown among us, not just a street-fighting kid from Gotham but a taller, stronger, more developed creature. Matthew could easily have passed for sixteen, even eighteen maybe, and for weeks everyone was too intimidated to talk to him, this hulking brute from another world. Eventually, when I did begin to befriend him, I would realize that Matthew wasn't just factually older than me, he was light years ahead of my curve, perhaps light years ahead of everyone in Roseborn Middle School, possessed of such a single-minded fearlessness that perhaps my initial suspicion that a stone giant had been cast into sixth grade wasn't all that far off.

But, of course, this is easy to say looking back twenty-six years. At the time, Matthew just felt like an older brother to me — even more so than my actual older brother. I feared him and loved him in equal measure.

I suppose we'd never really discussed girls in any sort of making-out sense but I think Matthew had had sex already, probably more than once. If I'd asked, I'm sure he would've told me. But I didn't ask, the whole thing made me feel incredibly uncomfortable. For several months I'd seen him looking at girls in a way that would slowly become familiar to me — if I'm being honest with myself, I probably resented that.

So it didn't surprise me much when, not long after we'd trekked to our secret spot with Hannah, Matthew sent me away on my own. It's a new game, he said, called Reconnaissance. And then Matthew tried to sell it to me like I was a spy and now I'd get to sneak around and if I spotted anything, like deer or a hiker, I should report it when I returned.

Oh and Tricky, he added, just as I was leaving. Take your time, OK.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Grist Mill Road"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Christopher J. Yates.
Excerpted by permission of Picador.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Dedication,
Epigraph,
Part I,
Patch,
New York, 2008,
Patch,
New York, 2008,
Patch,
New York, 2008,
Patch,
New York, 2008,
Patch,
New York, 2008,
Patch,
New York, 2008,
Patch,
New York, 2008,
Into the Blue,
Part II,
Hannah,
New York, 2008,
Hannah,
New York, 2008,
Hannah,
Into the Blue,
Part III,
Matthew,
New York, 2008,
Matthew,
New York, 2008,
Matthew,
New York/New Jersey, 2008,
Matthew,
New Jersey/New York, 2008,
Matthew,
Roseborn, New York, 2008,
Matthew,
Roseborn, New York, 2008,
Matthew,
Roseborn, New York, 2008,
Matthew,
Rockefeller Lookout, New Jersey, 2008,
Matthew,
Roseborn, New York, 2008,
Matthew,
Roseborn, New York, 2008,
Matthew,
Roseborn, New York, 2008,
Matthew,
Roseborn, New York, 2008,
Into the Blue,
Acknowledgments,
Also by Christopher J. Yates,
About the Author,
Copyright,

Customer Reviews

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Grist Mill Road 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ending of the book was incredibly weak...
JulieB 5 months ago
Told in the past and present, centered around a vicious event that involves three teenagers, the story starts out very gruesome. The author isn’t shy about describing the grizzly details of the incident, so beware if you can’t stomach graphic details. One of the main characters has a cooking blog and talks about cooking a lot...and I mean a lot! Another character adds a considerable amount of rock formation facts. While they were interesting, I didn’t intend to take a geology lesson, lol. I felt like too much time was spent on unneeded details, which distracted from the story. I listened to the audio version of this book and the narration was fantastic. It was well-written, the characters were detailed and parts of this story were 5 stars. But I felt let down by other parts of the book. And the ending was bizarre. Did I miss something? My Rating: 3 ⭐️’s Published: January 9th 2018 by Picador USA Recommended: It’s well-written and parts of it were really good. A let down for me, but a lot of others enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
satisfying+ending.+
readers_retreat More than 1 year ago
This has been touted as one of the best thrillers of the year and feaured on the January 2018 Indie Next list. Although I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would, it was a great read nonetheless, I will be putting "Black Chalk" Yates' cult hit onto my TBR pile. What I liked about "Grist Mill Road" is that it is an intelligent thriller that really makes you think. With a multitude of different strands that are woven together seamlessly, the plot keeps you interested in what the outcome or final resolution will be. I am always up for an unsettling and "oh-my-god" read and this certainly fit the bill in that respect. At its heart, this is a cold case thriller that is deceptively dark and filled with suspense. There were a lot of surprises as one thing Yates does exceptionally well is writing a novel that is unpredictable in nature with disturbing moments aplenty. The multiple POV tells the story from three different perspectives (Hannah, Patrick and Matthew - the three children who were present on the day Hannah was attacked 26 years ago) so you have to be on-the-ball to keep it all straight in your head. The pace was enjoyable and the unpredictability means that the twists and turns often leave you rather shocked. All in all, a book that is worthy of your time. It will be especially appreciated by those who enjoy psychological thrillers but conventional crime fiction fans will also find the book meaty enough to get their claws into. Many thanks to Picador for an ARC. I was not required to post a review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
TBranch More than 1 year ago
This story was told from multiple points of view and at times, I had to go back and reread sections to make sure I was understanding and keeping the story straight, but that may have just been because I was so caught up in reading and finding out what was happening. This was a great story that shows actions do have consequences... even years later.
Myndia More than 1 year ago
As adolescents, Hannah, Patrick and Matthew were involved in a terrible, life-changing tragedy. Fast forward twenty-six years later and everyone has moved on with their lives. Hannah is a crime reporter, Patrick is laid off but finding his passion in cooking and blogging, and Matthew…well, neither of them knows where Matthew is, and they don't want to. Unfortunately, he comes out of the woodwork unexpectedly, and dredges up a past Hannah and Patrick would both rather forget. And as often happens when you dredge, some debris is brought to the surface, some truths that Hannah and Patrick would rather have stayed buried. What I liked about this book is the way the storyline moved along, going back and forth between the past and present, as well as jumping between perspectives, leaving breadcrumbs, provoking questions. The layout of the story made it easy to keep going. At some point, it became clear that things were not as they originally seemed, and then the missing element became painfully clear long before the actual reveal. In fact, it came so early that I was expecting to be wrong, or for something more shocking to enhance that element, but that never happened. There were definitely some elements that I didn't care for. Hannah's perspective in the beginning was hard to get through. Her character felt detached, almost lifeless, and connecting to her was nearly impossible. In fact, though her bits of the story improved in the long run, I never got to liking her. In the beginning, I had sympathy for what she had been through, but in the end, I disliked her so much, even that was a struggle. And then I felt terrible because no one deserves what happened to her. On reflection, I didn't really like any of the characters, but the one I liked the most I hated early on. And the ending. Don't even start with me. To avoid spoilers, I will repeat what I told a friend who was working their way through it around the same time: the feeling I had at the end of this book was very similar to the one I had at the end of Gone Girl. Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I’m being honest here when I say that I really got tired with the jumping around of the characters and the 2008 and 1983-time periods. I mean sometimes there would only be a page and a half of text and we would be flipping to a different person or time period and it drove me crazy. That being said, that is about the only negative thing I found as I read this novel. I really enjoyed the storyline, I liked the side stories that accompanied the main story and I liked how we never knew the whole story till the very end. I thought the ending with Matthew was cut and dry and that could have been better but I didn’t care much for Matthew so that didn’t matter that much to me. This book surprised me though, it was darker than what I had expected. Tricky and Matthew were good friends. They hang out in a local forest area where they had created their own shelter complete with weapons and supplies. They were both 7th graders yet Matthew was older and it seemed like Tricky followed whatever Matthew said. The year is 1983 and Matthew decides to bring Hannah up to their private area. He sends Tricky off and he is alone with Hannah. Later when Tricky returns, he finds Hannah tied a tree with Matthew shooting at her with a BB gun. Cripes! The year is now 2008. Tricky is married to Hannah. Tricky never did any time for the crime committed against Hannah but Matthew did. I kept wondering why and how the two of them got married and as I read, my questions were answered. Tricky has been fired and is now a food blogger. The stories go around and around. Matthew, Tricky, and Hannah and also the years 2008 and 1983. They’re not hard to tell them apart but it’s a lot of switching gears as you’re reading. I found Matthew most annoying, I think it was his attitude and I found Tricky the most fun and adventurous. Tricky’s mind was always going, he was thinking of something all the time. Hannah was living in the moment and why not? I liked the twists in each of the stories which was slowly revealed to me and I think the author did an excellent job putting this novel together. It was a somber tale, one that will have you thinking about the book long after you turn the last page.
wvteddy More than 1 year ago
I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley. I thought it sounded good and was looking forward to reading it. I finished it a week ago and have been pondering my review since then. I rarely give a book a bad review perhaps because I don't finish books that I don't like. Since a review was expected I pushed on to finish it, and I did not like it. The story starts out with a gruesome crime committed 20 years earlier involving 3 friends, Matthew, Patrick, and Hannah. The reason for the crime is revealed, slowly I thought, from the perspectives of these characters. The story moves back and forth from the time of the crime to the present, with more time spent in the past. I spent the entire book wondering what on earth this young teenager could have done to provoke such a crime, and when it was revealed I did not think young Matthew's extreme actions were warranted. As a youth he seemed evil and I had a hard time relating to the successful man we see twenty years later. Patrick seemed like a wimpy youth who didn't have many friends and bowed to peer pressure with Matthew. Hannah is a successful adult but she is not fleshed out much in the future years. This book felt dark and depressing and reading it in a dark gloomy January did not help things. I am sorry I finished it.
mweinreich More than 1 year ago
A lie can have many tentacles. It can reach out in so many directions, affect so many people, change so many lives. A lie that is left to smolder never being refuted or put to right can not only damage the teller but also all those the lie can include. “Lies and secrets, they are like a cancer in the soul. They eat away what is good and leave only destruction behind.” Matthew, Patrick, and Hannah are friends. They go to school together, have time spent together and yet all the wonderful and carefree times are ended when a horrible thing happens. Hannah is left stricken, while Patrick becomes an unwilling participant frozen in time, and Mathew, a product of an abusive father does something that changes the course of his life and his friends as well. You blame the one child, not fully knowing the true story. You might hate the other child, not fully knowing the story, and you might feel sorrow for the last child not really knowing the full story. Nothing awful ever happens by itself, it burns away through others, creating a life of hidden secrets, nightmares, and troubled lives. Twenty six years after the tragedy we see the children grown to adulthood. None of them have been able to forget, none of them can leave the place where tragedy struck. Can they escape and find the avenues of peace they seek? Is this destined to be always there, always eating away at them, always being at the core of their being. Mr Yates has written a fine psychological thriller, that makes one keenly aware that oftentimes what we have done as children, never really leaves our consciousness.
Rhonda-Runner1 More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book hooked me from the first page and held my interest until the last page. The book focuses on 3 friends who were in junior high back in 1982 when a horrible incident happened involving these 3 friends. The story then moves ahead to 2008 with the story line going back and forth from 1982 to 2008 focusing on each of the main characters. The characters are well developed and the book has lots of twists, turns and surprises. Just when I thought I had things figured out, I found out I did not. This is a great read and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good psychological thriller with plenty of surprises.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
This book was crazy for me at times. When I first started reading it, the female character seemed like "Stepford Wives" and that's how I read them and how they sounded to me. I almost put the book down. Then, all of a sudden the voice I'm reading changes and she does have a mind of her own. I had the same thing happen to me with one of the male characters. I was reading it one way and then it changed. I think a lot of this was because of the fact the author would tell one side of the story, so I was seeing that character from that point of view. Then I would hear a different side of the story and my opinion and everything would change. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. It was just different for me. I really enjoyed the book a lot though. That is until the end. I did not like the last chapter. Maybe I missed something along the way, but I did go back and read the next to the last chapter again. It seemed like the author sorted out two of the characters but not the third. Overall, I thought it was a good read and I sped through this one pretty quickly. Thanks to Macmillan-Picador and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grist Mill Road is a book about cowards, bullies, revenge, and childhood. This is a book split into two timelines. It opens with a gristly act that no one will forget, for their various reasons, and then meets back up 26 years later when the main characters have met back up shockingly enough. There is a twist you won't see coming
Selena More than 1 year ago
An extremely intense and mesmerizing thriller that pulls you in on it's very first page. This book is a story of three teenagers who are all involved in a crime and how each of them viewed the crime, in their own mind, what they saw or what they think they saw and what really happened. The story is told from their past and their future and how this crime changed who they are now and what their actions from their past has impacted their now future. Each of these characters has to face what they did and and what they are hiding from that terrible crime they were all a part of. An amazingly written novel with such detail and precision. You will find yourself neck deep in emotion with this novel. Prepare yourself for a very intense read.
Jaruwa More than 1 year ago
Grist Mill Road leads up from a small town in upstate New York to a special place in the mountains where young teens Matthew and Patrick often ride their bikes to explore and play. One day, Patrick, Matthew, and another friend, Hannah, experience a seemingly senseless, violent event that affects them all for the rest of their lives. They meet again several decades later and, because of secrets and misunderstandings regarding this event, react in tragic and violent ways. There are two timelines: 1982, when the three were young teens, and 2008, when they reunite as adults and try to deal with a past they have tried to forget. All three are greatly affected by this tragic incident in their childhood: one is severely maimed, one goes to jail, and one witnesses the violence but does nothing to stop it and feels terribly guilty for years. This book got off to a slow start. It seemed just okay to me until about a third of the way in. Then, several surprising revelations made me realize that I had misjudged it. After that I couldn’t put it down. Twists and turns I didn’t see coming kept me avidly reading. Yates is highly skilled at creating intriguing, multifaceted characters, and this was what I liked best. I loved that the characters were complex; not all good or all bad but both. I empathized, even when the characters did despicable things. They seemed very realistic. I also enjoyed his descriptions of settings, especially of the mountainous areas where much of this takes place. I gave this book three stars not only because of the slow start, but also because I thought that excessive details detracted from the flow of the storyline. I also felt the ending was somewhat strange and abrupt. Even though I couldn’t rate this book more highly, I did enjoy reading it and would definitely like to read more from this author. I recommend reading this despite its flaws and urge you to to seek out more from this author. Note: I received an advance copy of the ebook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
From the publisher: 1982: In an Edenic hamlet some ninety miles north of New York City, among craggy rock cliffs and glacial ponds of timeworn mountains, three teenage friends - - Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah - - are bound together by a terrible crime. 2008: In New York City, living lives their younger selves never could have predicted, the three meet again - - with even more devastating results. What really happened in those woods twenty-six years ago? The answer to that question is not made clear to the reader until very near the end of this novel, in what Patrick calls “the final part of a letter I’ll never send,” followed by the words “August 18, 1982. The clearing. The truth.” This is a novel that displays varying emotions, including love, anger, and jealousy, and abusive relationships, in a very affecting manner. Part I begins from the p.o.v. of Patrick, whose nicknames includes Patch, the name he is most frequently called in these pages. He is twelve years old as the tale begins, which it does in a forest area, where his friend, Matthew, whose nickname for Patrick is “Tricky,” who on the opening pages is shooting Patrick’s Red Ryder BB gun into a tied-up Hannah, their friend, 49 times, the forty-ninth and final time into and through her eye, leaving her of course blind in that eye but, almost miraculously, alive, her left eye socket looking “like it was housing a dark smashed plum.” Years later, he thinks back and muses “How did that make me feel, having watched a girl tied to a tree and shot forty-nine times? Flesh, blood, death.” Further thinking that “at the time, Matthew just felt like an older brother to me - - even more so than my actual older brother. I feared him and loved him in equal measure.” The next chapter takes place in New York, in the year 20008. Patrick is 38 years old and suddenly jobless. He is now married to Hannah, who tends to have nightmares from which Patrick calms and soothes her. They have been married for four years, and Hannah is a crime reporter. Patrick is a food blogger and a gourmet chef. The story has twists and turns, with varying chapters told from the p.o.v. of each of our protagonists, whose relationships are complex, to say the least. This is a tale and characters the reader won’t soon forget, and the novel is recommended.
teachlz More than 1 year ago
"Grist Mill Road" by Author Christopher J. Yates started off as a dynamic, powerful, intense and captivating novel.  The genres for this book are Psychological Thriller, and Mystery and Suspense. The timelines for this story are 1982  and  2008.  Hannah, Matthew and Patrick start off as young teenagers when a suspenseful terrible crime happens. Twenty six years later in 2008, the three characters meet up accidentally with devastating consequences. The author describes the characters as complicated, and complex. The characters all have a dysfunctional background. There are betrayals, and deep secrets that go back to 2008. The author alternates the chapters by characters, and the timeline goes back and forth.   The puzzles, clues, and twists and turns stop towards the end of the book. I felt let down and disappointed at the end of the story. The very last chapter is somewhat confusing. Towards the end of the book, the character development is sloppy, something is missing.  I can not bring up many of the things that concern me, because I don't want to give away any spoilers. There are some major holes in the story that I feel the author should be accountable for, and I just feel frustrated. That being said, the first two-thirds of the book are well written, and are entertaining. I do recommend that readers of  psychological thrillers take a chance and read this book to come to their own conclusions. I received this  Advanced Reading Copy  for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really a very dumb book! Bad writing period! Just rambling words!