Tall Oaks

A tale of mystery in a California town

Tall Oaks

Harry Monroe, only three years old, is missing. His distraught mother Jessica teeters on the knife-edge between sanity and insanity that only unimaginable grief can conjure. Her estranged husband, charming and poised, performs for the camera. Dogged Jim, the lead investigator, pours over the evidence. And as improbable as it sounds, he believes Jessica when she tells him about the Clown she saw in her son’s room before the child vanished:

“And then it settled on the rocking chair in the far corner of the room. I saw a shape in the chair, but it was too far away to make out. I knew it shouldn’t be there … I pressed the zoom button and watched as the shape slowly became something that I recognized. A man. A man in my son’s room … the man was wearing a clown mask.”

Debut British author and award-winner Chris Whitaker penned a twisting, labyrinthine tale of a tragedy in a small town in California, a town of sunny days and tall trees, a place where everyone knows everyone else, and yet a place thick with secrets.

But it’s not all grim. Lovable uber-nerd Manny has decided that Tall Oaks needs some spicing up. By aping the clothes and lingo of movie mobsters, he decides he can make life more interesting by creating a two-man Mafia with his best friend Abe. It’s hard to be a gangster, however, when you have to take care of your little sister and when your mom is on your case about your potty-mouth. Also, it’s hard to wear a fedora and a suit in a California summer, but one has to look the part.

Meanwhile, quiet Jerry, a mountain of a man who lives with his mother, works at the PhotoMax and takes killer pictures. He seems … not quite right. And what are Henrietta and Roger, the aunt and uncle of distraught mother Jessica, hiding?

These are just some of the characters that Whitaker sends across the page, spinning their truths and lies against a backdrop of sorrow so vast it can’t be spoken of.

Tall Oaks is just one of the latest offers from international authors, published for the first time in the United States by Dover. Mystery, Crime and Thriller books from Dover celebrate classic authors and introduce eager readers to contemporary masters of the genre.