Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver

Morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Elizabeth L. Silver's debut, The Execution of Noa P. Singleton.

I'm going to have to use the "official" copy from Goodreads here again - this is one of those books where I really, really, really don't want to give away anything pertaining to the plot:

Six months before her execution date, Noa is visited on Pennsylvania's death row by a high-powered attorney named Marlene Dixon who initiates a clemency petition on her behalf. Marlene also happens to be the mother of Noa's victim, Sarah, and ten years earlier, she helped cement Noa's fate on the witness stand. What unfolds is the haunting account of Noa P. Singleton, an insular, acerbic thirty-five-year-old woman who agrees to entertain this last-minute appeal because Marlene has unexpectedly reversed her belief in the death penalty.

Marlene wants to know why her daughter died, and she scours Noa's past to reveal the bright loner who took Sarah's life. Haunting those involved is the fact that the motive was never revealed, but Noa doesn't want to fight for her life, and she is only slowly persuaded to tell what happened that day. A character-driven story about two women whose lives are inextricably linked through the law, through shared sentiments of guilt, and through irreversible mistakes, Noa and Marlene's motivations become increasingly nebulous, and in the end they must accept that they are in fact a blurred spectrum of good and evil.

This book has the kind of opening that truly hooks a reader - it's smart, it's intriguing, and it's clear that you're going to be in for an interesting ride. It's also the kind of opening chapter that really sets the tone and gives you a clear idea of Silver's voice and style.

I should point out, though, that while the pacing of the story is quite fast, Silver has a very wordy way of writing. It's not bad, but I did find myself rereading sentences quite often for two particular reasons: 1. the description was so clever that I couldn't help myself and 2. on occasion I found myself lost in a particular sentence and had to read it again to visualize exactly what Silver was describing.

I am a fan of this kind of fiction, to be honest. The main character, in this case death row inmate Noa P. Singleton, isn't quite reliable. She's hiding things from everyone, including the reader. There are hints about this throughout almost every chapter, the kind of hints that will either drive you crazy or force you to stay up all night reading so you can find out what it is (or both!). And once you get into the heart of the story and begin to piece together some of the details that are being laid out, it becomes pretty impossible to stop reading for any reason at all.

Overall, The Execution of Noa P. Singleton turned out to be a really good read and one that I definitely recommend if you're looking for something not quite straightforward in your fiction.

Rating: 4/5

To see more stops on the tour, check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Elizabeth L. Silver, visit her website here and the Q&A on Noa here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


Jenn's Bookshelves said...

I really liked this one as well! I can't wait for more from this author!

Christina said...

Curious. I'd not heard of this at all. Not quite sold yet, but if I see another good review for this, I think I'll have to add it. I just read Charm & Strange, and had to read sentences more than once, so doing so again isn't that appealing. :-p

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Sounds like this was a great read for you! I'm looking forward to picking it up myself this summer.

Thanks for being on the tour.