Richards writes a beautiful ballad to the missing and to those who survive, trying to pick up the pieces without knowing what that means. The pages illustrate the world of those who survive and the many missing faces of those who disappear.
The Comfort of Monsters by Willa C. Richards, Harper
Reading a novel that takes place in your hometown is a trip to be had, and I am honored to share the town of Milwaukee with author Willa C. Richards and the story she recounts in The Comfort of Monsters. Richards takes us on an epic rewind to Milwaukee in 1991, the year before Jeffrey Dahmer was put on trial for murdering men and young boys. In the story, Peg’s coveted sister, Dee, goes missing, yet Peg has a hard time convincing the city that she was murdered. No Body, No Crime. Her family frantically begins doing their own investigation with a dismissive detective sometimes in tow. In a world where serial killers are glorified, their every past movement becomes a tourist trap. But what about all the missing? All the faces lost to memories?
You don’t even know what you’ve lost unless you’re like me, and then every day you think about how much might be gone, how much you wish you still had, how difficult it is to mourn memories that don’t even exist.
I devoured this book, getting lost in the pages of the Milwaukee that once was and, bouncing to the modern day to see how Peg is the product of tragedy, grief, and trauma. We learn about her sister and their relationship through her memories that she worries are fogged with time.
Isn’t it amazing how time works? How our memories can stretch the shortest moments into long, infinitely unwinding wires of feeling.
The pages illustrate the world of those who survive and the many missing faces of those who disappear. I could not recommend this book enough. Richards writes a beautiful ballad to the missing and to those who survive, trying to pick up the pieces without knowing what that means.