Gripping, powerful, and unforgettable… An emotion-packed must-read.
Bourgault infuses his exceptionally well-built world with small town intrigue, old secrets, treacheries, and human drama in his deeply engrossing debut. Ferguston, Ontario. 12-year-old Justin Lambert has seen his father struggling with the decade-old mysterious disappearance of his mother. Justin doesn’t remember his mother much but it pains him to see his father suffering. Being an introverted, biracial kid in an angry little town full of dark secrets, Justin generally prefers books to people. But when 9-year-old Billie enters Justin’s life, he realizes he relishes the tender bond he shares with the young girl. But Billie is not what she seems on the surface. A chance occurrence results in Justin stumbling on evidence, opening a way for his mother’s case to be reopened. When David Raymond, the only person of interest in the case, learns about it, his anger is ignited. Now Justin’s life is in danger, but he is not sure if Billie will help him or not. Bourgault’s intricate plot winds and races from beginning to end, keeping readers on the edge of their seats. He takes his time building the town and characters’ backstory, and his sharp, poignant writing depicts the events leading up to and following Justin’s mother’s suspicious disappearance with Justin and Billie’s relation at the center. The characters, be it major or minor, are authentic and feel wholly realistic in their interactions. A litany of painful topics such as bullying, mental illness, trauma, grief and loss is handled with a deft touch. At the same time, Bourgault also examines how hard it can be to come to terms with an unsolved disappearance of a loved one. The narrative moves at a measured pace, and the intelligent prose evokes raw emotions of uncertainty, fear, grief, pride, and love. The pacing of the book is excellent; there is a plenty of nitty-gritty of Justin’s life, but Bourgault neither loses the momentum nor the focus. The tension remains high with relentless suspense in the back, particularly about Billie’s real identity and motive, and readers won’t get a full picture until the very end. The ending is both heartfelt and unexpected. Justin’s journey to find his own place in the world while trying to come to terms with his mother’s tragic disappearance is tense and powerful. Fantastical, with just a right dose of SF and fantasy, this novel lives up to its goal.
The Perpetual Now
By Jerome J. Bourgault
Pub date March 13, 2020
Price $24.99 (USD) Hardcover, $5.25 Kindle edition, $6.60 Paperback