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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
In Beyond The Pale by C Michelle McCarty, Abbie's mother, Phoebe, has just died. Her father, her soul mate, died when she was a young girl and her mother never forgave Abbie for her father's death. A sad thing for a girl to live with, but then Abbie's mother was always difficult to please, even for those Phoebe pretended to show affection for. At the funeral, Abbie and her teenage son must interact with her dysfunctional family, one that she had left far behind when she moved away and started a life of her own. The most repulsive characters in her family are the sister-in-law who is a real fake and a phony, and her brother-in-law, who is as horny as they come. The only redeeming connections she cherishes are her cousin, Nora, and her brother, Danny.
Abbie doesn't expect much from her mother's will, but she does expect to finally receive her father's treasured locker which contains secrets he had saved for when she turned twenty-one. Only, out of malice, her mother never let Abbie have the locker. The reading of the will is delayed and consequently the recovery of the locker is also delayed. In the meantime, the reader is introduced to the really important people in her life, the family that she has 'adopted' who live in the same trailer park as she does, particularly Violet and her mentally disabled son, Kevin. There is more than a family connection here as the plot unravels and the locker is finally acquired and opened.
C Michelle McCarty has written a fascinating tale of family love - both natural family and 'adopted' family. Her humorous assessments of some of the dysfunctional family members certainly parallel people in real life, people that all readers can relate to. However, sometimes the dialogue that ensues carries on a little too long and the plot progresses rather slowly to its climax. It's an interesting read; a mystery with an unusual twist.