"One dog yelping at nothing will set ten thousand straining at their collars."
– Japanese Proverb, Tornado Weather
I’m not exactly sure what I anticipated when I began Tornado Weather, but what I got was so much more than what I imagined. Deborah E. Kennedy’s debut is weirdly wonderful, and it’s so different that it is difficult to know just how to categorize it. It’s one of those books that, to me, shouldn’t be pigeonholed into just one genre. There’s mystery, drama, heartache, racism, and bigotry – but also hopefulness, endurance, and even a bit of psychic phenomena. In other words, I couldn’t put it down.
Colliersville is a small rural town in Indiana that is in decline, verging on poverty in some areas. It’s a place where everybody knows what’s going on with their neighbors, though not everyone is aware of things that go on right under their own noses. When little Daisy Gonzales disappears after getting off the school bus one day, everyone suspects someone different, knows something different, saw something different. So many secrets in one small town… and they’re all about to be spilled.
One story told by many voices makes this a character-driven novel with those characters being so fleshed out I felt as though they would step off the page at any moment. I know some readers may balk at the thought of multiple character POVs, but not once did I struggle to keep up with who was who – mainly because in a small town full of gossip, you’ve heard about them before you ever meet them, but also because it reads more like short stories with one main theme. And then it all comes together brilliantly.
Tornado Weather is dark and gritty at times but hopeful and heartwarming at others, with an incredible and unexpected last chapter that left me emotional in the best way. This is an excellent debut from Deborah E. Kennedy, and I very much look forward to more of her unique storytelling.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.