Three years ago, Danny Morris left behind a gun, a tonne of questions and a gaping hole in the lives of those who loved him. What he didn’t leave was a suicide note.
On the anniversary of his death, his closest friends gather at his parents’ beach house in New Zealand’s idyllic Marlborough Sounds. Danny’s girlfriend, Kate, holds fast to his memory by continuing to live in the house they shared.
“Three years ago, Danny Morris left behind a gun, a tonne of questions and a gaping hole in the lives of those who loved him. What he didn’t leave was a suicide note.”
Yeah, that’s enough to make anyone curious! On the anniversary of his death his friends gather together at his parent’s New Zealand beach house. Though this sounds morbid and scary and maybe not something you’d usually read I recommend you give it a shot. All of the characters are dealing with their pain in different ways, and the book truly brought so many emotions out in me. I was a little confused at some points, but that happens when there are so many characters I suppose. I don’t feel like it took too much away from the book.
I have to say, the writing style of the author so made the book. It feels like Amanda Dick was sitting in front of me telling this story. It flows that smooth. I feel like this is one of those books that needs to be written. It’s not just about Danny, it’s about the people left in the aftermath. The ones he left behind. Their gut-wrenching, unbearable pain. Their struggle to move on when they are just as lost and confused as when the bullet echoed. This beautiful, heart-wrenching story is one that will stay with me for a long time. To fans of books that make you think, about life, about death, about everything: this is a book you might just fall in love with.
*I received this book for review from the author, this in no way affected my thoughts as expressed in this review.*
“I’ll come with you,” Finn said immediately, putting his beer on the deck beside his chair and standing up.The thoughts she had had earlier made another appearance, and she quickly pushed them aside. She couldn’t spend the next few days avoiding him just because she had some kind of girly crush she was having trouble getting over.
He fell into step beside her as they made their way over the lawn and down onto the sandy beach. She struggled for something to say to ease the tension but for once, nothing came.
“How’s your stomach?” Finn asked finally.
“It’s fine now.” She smiled over at him briefly as they strolled along the sand towards the jetty closest to the house. “Maybe those seasickness pills finally kicked in.”
They reached the weather-beaten wooden jetty and he climbed up onto it first, offering her his hand. Gingerly, she took it. His fingers closed around hers, safe and solid and reliable, and she had to keep telling herself that it was nothing, he was just being his usual, chivalrous self. She wished her heart would stop thumping in her ears so she could think straight.
He pulled her up onto the jetty next to him. Being in such close proximity didn’t help clear up any of the confusion she felt – if anything, it made it worse. Part of her wanted to crawl into his arms. The other part of her wanted to run from him. She kept telling herself that he had Kelly – he wasn’t available. Even if he was, she wasn’t sure that would make any difference. If he would just keep his distance, she could get over this infatuation, or whatever the hell this was. Only, he didn’t seem to be able to do that.
They walked in silence down the length of the jetty. The water was a gorgeous azure blue, clear and shallow beneath them. A multitude of sea life attached themselves to the pylons, including starfish and mussels. She wasn’t normally a huge fan of mussels, but it always seemed to be the thing to do here, and she was keen to keep up the old traditions, the ones that Danny had started when they first began coming here all those years ago. It seemed important, a way of keeping his memory alive.
“Watch your step,” he warned, heading down the few wooden steps built into the side of the jetty, leading into the water.
The steps were slippery at the best of times, and she took them slowly, following him. He reached for the bowl and she handed it to him as he began to collect the mussels that had attached themselves to the pylons, dropping them into the bowl. It wasn’t a two-person job, so she sat down on the step, smoothing her skirt down over her thighs. She searched for something safe to talk about.
“So, how’s Kelly?” she ventured, keeping her tone casual.
He stopped what he was doing and sat back on his heels. “We broke up.”
”About a month ago? Something like that.”
Today was February fifteenth. Six weeks after what happened between them at New Years. Was he trying to tell her something?
“I’m so sorry – I didn’t know. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Didn’t want to make a big deal out of it.”
She got the feeling he might have been waiting for the right moment to tell her. Did the others know? If they did, they hadn’t mentioned it. Had he asked them not to? Was she reading too much into this? Her head spun.
“It was a mutual thing,” he continued. “It just wasn’t working. She wanted the whole deal – big wedding, couple of kids, white picket fence.”
“And you didn’t?”
He stared at the mussels he had piled in the bowl at his feet. “That’s the thing,” he said, “I did want all that – I mean, I do want all that. Just not with her.”
The pregnant silence between them was almost as deafening as the cicadas.
Born in Opotiki, New Zealand, she is rather partial to dark chocolate and believes in the power of a good vanilla latte. She has a passion for the colour green (particularly in clothes and gemstones) and insists there is nothing sexier than a man in a kilt.
She spent several months traveling around Europe in her late 20’s (there’s a story there – she’ll get around to writing it one day). After ridding herself of her wanderlust, she met the love of her life (while working to pay off said wanderlust) in Edinburgh, Scotland. They moved in together the week after their first date – so yes, she believes in love at first sight. She also believes in Women’s Intuition and following your heart.
She writes on her trusty laptop, predominantly late at night, when it’s quiet and interruptions are few. Most of all, she enjoys writing about human behaviour – love, loss, joy, grief, friendship and relationships in general. She loves to put normal, everyday people into situations that will test their boundaries. She is passionately curious about how we, as human beings, react when pushed to the edge.
After living in Scotland for five years, she has now settled back home in New Zealand, where she lives with her husband and two children.