Quick-take: Boring first half. Decent second half.
2 rural towns are at war with each other. A teenaged girl is caught in the middle having been accused of murder for the daughter of the local business magnate. This executive's business seems to be into its own shady dealings.
The person investigating is the father of the accused teenager. He believes his teenaged daughther is innocent, and he is trying to unearth the evidence while learning about all the problems in the two quarreling towns.
The first half of the book was a slog. My understanding is the literary technique happening in the this is "telling". All the characters are talking about events, and I'd really wish the author would actually "show" an event. Chris Hawk talks to everybody. He is basically driving around the two towns talking, and talking, and talking. Chapters fly by and nothing new happens.
This style of storytelling is dreadfully boring for me. I don't want to read about 2 people talking about something that happened. I want to experience it myself and draw my own conclusions. A secondary problem about this: I do not know why everybody so freely gives Chris Hawk their backstories, thoughts, and information. After the character confides in Chris Hawk, he just freely shares their info back to others. This may happen immediately after a "Don't tell anybody!" request. Next chapter, that info is now told. There are no second thoughts about it.
Chris Hawk is divorced, and his ex-wife has cancer. This info is in place simply to make him more interesting. I guess trying to prove your daughter's innonence wasn't enough to carry the book.
The second half was a welcome improvement. Things started happening. The whole book should've been this. However, the big reveals that get dropped along the way were either way too predictible or unbelievable. A good mystery novel surprises and then makes you go "hmmm.... yeah, ok.". I never went "...yeah, ok". I either predicted what would happen or disagreed.
Score: 2/5. For those that enjoyed Night Bird, this is not it.