by Jessica Wren3 out of 5
In Minterville, Georgia, the residents live in relative seclusion, partly to keep crime out of their small, tranquil community, and partly to prevent the world from finding out about The Minter, a form of telepathy that interconnects them and gives them a sense of unity.
Then The Minter, which cannot function in the presence of evil, stops working. Mayor Tom Watson suspects that two families who had recently moved to town have ties to Manuela Escribano (known as the Ice Queen), a prolific drug lord who, unbeknownst to the rest of Minterville, has a deadly score to settle with Tom.
No one, including Tom, has any idea how deep the Manuela's desire for revenge runs, until one Friday morning, twenty women disappear. When Manuela sends in a video detailing her diabolical plot to get revenge against Tom and the community that has harbored him for thirty years, Minterville must come together as one to rescue the women before time runs out. They must act quickly, or innocent people will die and their beloved community (and along with it, The Minter) will be destroyed forever.
Minterville is a quiet and peaceful place, a small town where the residents really show what community means. Until two new families move in, and women start to disappear.
This was a nice book, and I enjoyed it. My main impression was that it was like a Town Called Eureka, crossed with a Sunday afternoon murder mystery, with a dash of something more sinister.
I liked the supernatural element - that the whole town could communicate on the Minter - a telepathic network that only Mints (original residents of Minterville and their descendants) could use. The only problem is that the Minter does not work when evil is near. Which sets alarm bells off when it starts to fade, when the new families move in.
I like how the Minter is the perfect example of how good and pure the Mints think they are; but really they are closed off and ignorant and distrustful of outsiders.
I also like how Wren has written this telepathic ability into the story as an everyday thing, that's just accepted by the residents. It's an interesting thing, and doesn't actually have much to do with the whole drama of the story; it only establishes the strength of the community.
The slow, painful death that has been devised for the women (as punishment for Tom crossing a drug queen years ago), is suitably horrid. It's simple, and gory, and you hold your breath for them to survive.
There were a few little things that nagged me. To be honest, I struggled to keep everyone straight. Absolutely everyone in the town is introduced with their whole back story. Again, if it was a tv show, you're watching A Town Called Eureka, and you can tell in a second who the character is, who they are close to and have an idea of their personality, because a picture tells a thousand words. Which means it is perfectly feasible to introduce the whole town.
Unfortunately, in book form, you have to have those thousand words. It just felt like I was being bombarded with character profiles for the first third or so. Once their out the way, it all runs a lot smoother.
The "hints" were more like someone standing on a pedestal with a megaphone, pointing out that This. Is. Important. Please remember, and keep your arms in at all times.
Like the kid seeing the door open to the old swimming baths. Or the whole entire story of how they had some pepper spray ammo - when that one came out of nowhere, I was like "yup, I bet that pops up later".
The only other thing that struck me as odd was actually the synopsis - stick with me.
For me, these thriller books are a slow unveiling and clues toward the Who, Why and How.
The big three answers are already given in the synopsis - (Who) The drug queen Escribano, (Why) because Mayor Tom has pissed her off, (How) punishing several Mint women via the dodgy new family.
I know there are other cool twists, but I kinda want to discover the above three for myself.
But overall, a very pleasant read (with some gory bits). My favourite part was the ending, when the town faces its monsters in court and moves on, stronger.