Tall Oaks (Chris Whitaker)

28933003Everyone has a secret in Tall Oaks . . . When three-year-old Harry goes missing, the whole of America turns its attention to one small town. Everyone is eager to help. Everyone is a suspect. Desperate mother Jess, whose grief is driving her to extreme measures. Newcomer Jared, with an easy charm and a string of broken hearts in his wake. Photographer Jerry, who’s determined to break away from his controlling mother once and for all. And, investigating them all, a police chief with a hidden obsession of his own . . .

Tall Oaks is, hands down, one of my top reads this year. It has already become one of my favorite books ever. The novel started with a creepy first chapter that truly fascinated me. A few pages later, I was laughing out loud. Other scenes were just so tragic I wanted to hug some of the characters. This book has EVERYTHING. A great mystery, humor, romance, awesome characters, surprising secrets…

So what’s this about? A small town full of secrets. The story begins a short time after Jessica’s three-year-old kid has vanished without trace. Max was kidnapped by an evil clown and there are no clues. Then we have the tortured cop who’s determined to solve the case and a list of odd neighbors, some of which might know more than they admit. You know that with those ingredients I was sold just by reading the blurb. But this book is unlike no other.

“He’s much bigger than you, darling”
“Yes, but I used to practice that martial art… Origami”.
“That’s paper folding”
“That’s an herb”.
“Well, what were those classes I took with my mother, at the church hall, after she got diagnosed?”
“Tai Chi”.

Tall Oaks features my new favorite character of all time: Manny. Manny is a charismatic teenager who curses too much and whose dream is to become the town’s most dangerous gangster. With the help of his friend Abe (whose mother won’t let him wear a suit when it’s too hot), they drive around town with a ridiculous car, dressed in old-fashioned clothes and offering protection services to all the store owners. Simply hilarious.

Manny’s mother, Elena, her new boyfriend Jared, French John, Furat, they were all fantastic characters and I was jealous because I wanted to be part of their family. Watching Rocky over and over again and listening to little Thalia curse after listening to his brother all day long.

Other characters like Jerry were incredibly lonely and I was on the verge of tears more than once. I always say that it takes a wonderful writer to make you fall in love with their characters and consider them as family after reading just one book. With a series it’s considerably easier; after all, you’ve spent more time with them. But it didn’t even take me half of Tall Oaks to fall in love with this weird, crazy town. And I’m sure I won’t forget about them.

The romance between Manny and Furat was just the sweetest love story I’ve read in a long time and it wasn’t even a big part of the book. They were perfect for each other. I loved how she saw how he really was and laughed at his jokes all the time. He was kind and considerate with her and the “prom” scene at the end had me smiling like a teenager (#noregrets).

“That’s the problem with women”
“They always try and beat the gangster out of you”.

Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I don’t have anything bad to say about this novel. It was so good that I wouldn’t even have cared if the mystery hadn’t been as great as the rest of the story, but the truth is that the conclusion left me speechless.

Whatever you do, don’t miss it.

Similar recommendations:
The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair (Joel Dicker)
The Things We Wish Were True (Marybeth Mayhew Whalen)

Other reviews:
Jen Med’s Book Reviews
Little Bookness Lane
Nats Reading Cloud

Twenty7 2016 – Copy from Netgalley

Buy Here

51 thoughts on “Tall Oaks (Chris Whitaker)

  1. itsbooktalk says:

    Started this last night and I could already tell I was going to love Manny. And the clown scene was freaky! I’m really liking his writing style so I can’t wait to jump back into the story today. Great recommendation and review!


    • Annie says:

      Haha Oh my… well, if it helps, the majority of the book is focused on other stuff, not the disappearance. I’d recommend it to you anyway because I think you might love it!

      Liked by 1 person

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