Right Across the Bay, a Must-Read Whodunnit by Quinn Avery

The Bottom Line: A small town murder mystery that is anything but small. Right Across the Bay is a must-read whodunnit infused with romance, betrayal and an unforgettable finale. 

Set in a seemingly tranquil lakeside community in southwestern Minnesota, Right Across the Bay opens as sheriffs recover the watery remains of fitness guru Britta Baxter. Three decades earlier, Britta and her cousin/BFF Maxine spent summers together at Lake ShetekBoth subsequently went to college, lived in New York and got married. But four years after Britta decided to leave the city and build a house in the area, and shortly after Maxine eventually resettled there as well, Britta is murdered – stabbed twelve times in the back before drowning. 

For Detective Josephine Kelly, the list of potential suspects is long. Britta’s husband – a surgeon who she talks openly about divorcing – comes off as  an arrogant prick. Meanwhile, the local Sheriff claims that Britta “made her way around town” despite their marriage. Then there’s Noah, Maxine’s longtime flirtation and newly acquired second husband, who has a dubious reputation. Complicating matters is that Britta isn’t the only local murder victim. Could the two crimes be related? 

Author Quinn Avery, who first caught fire with the exceptional novel The Dead Girl’s Stilettoshas found yet another gear in this small town murder mystery. Using a sophisticated structure that never feels forced, Avery tells the story from multiple points of view across multiple time periods. Chapters told within the two years leading up the the murders feel realistic and crackle with heart, even while the characters grapple with greed, jealousy, love and suspicion in their daily lives. Scenes told from the characters’ high school years depict the underlying darkness in small town Minnesota, specifically relentless bullying, mental illness, alcoholism and unfit parents. But it’s also a world filled with flirtation, romance, longing, play and local adventure. While the kids in Right Across The Bay have to grow up fast, there’s also a sense of freedom – and accompanying danger – that readers will relish. 

Chapters told from the point of view of suspects – and really, who can’t be considered a suspect? – become increasingly riveting as the novel goes on. While it’s clear that Avery is working toward what will surely be a twisty finale, the end is still a jaw-dropper.

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