Everything That Follows

by Meg Little Reilly
Mira, May 2018, $15.99

Kat makes a living as a glassblower on touristy Martha’s Vineyard. Having just sold a large piece to a wealthy client, a night of celebration is in order as the locals gather in their favorite watering hole. After everyone else has gone home, Kat, Kyle, and Hunter head out on Hunter’s boat for one final drink despite the gathering storm. But the night turns sinister when Kyle goes overboard, and instead of contacting authorities, Hunter and Kat decide to sober up first. Hunter is a senator’s son and can’t afford another accident on his record—especially not during his father’s re-election campaign—and he convinces Kat to wait.

But the morning comes, and neither go to the police. Days pass, the body is found, and Kat and Hunter struggle with their consciences over what happened that night. When they bring Kat’s boyfriend in on the secret, they unintentionally spark the interest of an erosion scientist on the island who is convinced the three are hiding a secret and know more about Kyle’s death than they will admit to. Doubt and fear creep into their lives and threaten to break their relationships and their lives apart.

In many respects this is a meditation on the damage that secrets—shared or hidden—can do to the people keeping them. It also shines light on the cracks in relationships that were previously hidden, but that become widening gaps when there is a true problem.

But the stakes in this story are low, the pace is slow, and readers will find little reason to be invested in whether Kat and Hunter go to the police or are found out. It was, after all, an accident. Likewise, the reader may not find themselves interested in whether or not Kat and her boyfriend’s relationship will survive the secret—neither of the characters evokes enough emotion from readers. The setting of Martha’s Vineyard in the off-season, with its side story of land erosion, adds some much-needed atmosphere to this otherwise uninspiring novel.

Erica Ruth Neubauer

A meditation on the damage that secrets—shared or hidden—can do to the people keeping them.

Teri Duerr
May 2018