Small Town. Big Secrets. A #bookreview of Tall Oaks, by Author Chris Whittaker @WhittyAuthor @BonnierZaffre #crime #mysterythriller #amreading


“In Chris Whitaker’s brilliant and original debut novel, missing persons, secret identities and dangerous lies abound in a town as idiosyncratic as its inhabitants.”
Everyone 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 . . .

Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 8th 2016 by twenty7
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Psychological Suspense, Mystery Thriller


I would like to thank Bonnier Zaffre for the complimentary paperback copy.
Whitaker’s debut novel, Tall Oaks, pulls you in from the very start with a pulse-pounding opening scene, and holds on until the very last page. I consider myself a pretty good detective, but I did not see any of the plot twists coming. NONE OF THEM. And the culmination– oh my God– what an ending.

When a three-year-old boy goes missing, the spotlight shines down on small town Tall Oaks and its quirky residents. There’s Jess, the grieving mother. And photographer Jerry, who is developmentally challenged and has a controlling mother. And Jim, the police chief who’s in over his head and has his own private agenda. There’s also Jared, with a secret of his own that consumes him with guilt and self-hatred. And Manny, a teenage boy who really wants to be a gangster. And French John… well, it goes on and on.

The cast of characters and frequent pov switch made it (at times) a confusing read. In the beginning I thought Lisa and Jess were the same person, and Max and Manny, as well as Jerry and Jim–which was really perplexing, but as I got further into the story I was able to appreciate each character and I finally caught on to who was who. And it wasn’t because the characters weren’t developed–they certainly were, but with so many povs and so much going on at once, it was hard to remember.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people found humor in this story. I’d agree that Manny was funny in his own way, but other than that, I found this story dark, tragic, and heart wrenching. Tall Oaks is a psychological suspense that made me cry my eyes out. And I loved it, so much.


4.5 Stars



Paperback available on Amazon, USA

Kindle, Audio, and Paperback available on Amazon, UK

About the Author 

Chris Whitaker
“Chris Whitaker was born in London and spent ten years working as a financial trader in the city. When not writing he enjoys football, boxing, and anything else that distracts him from his wife and two young sons. “Tall Oaks” is his first novel.” —Goodreads Author Bio

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