By Carly M. Duncan
CreateSpace, $6.20, 131 pages

Duncan’s novel opens with a teenaged Kate learning of the disappearance of her mother, the titular Marcie, in an accident at sea. Readers hoping for a good crime novel, however, will be disappointed by Duncan’s story, which abandons this initial hook almost immediately in favor of a story, mostly told in retrospect, about Kate’s coming of age and her struggles with her mother and their dysfunctional family. Over the course of the novel, we follow Kate both in the past as she whines about her family in typical teenage fashion and also in the present, where she must come together with that same family in order to cope with their mutual loss. It can be difficult, at times, to tell the difference between these sections, as Kate at sixteen and Kate at nineteen are virtually indistinguishable, and neither is particularly compelling. Perhaps where the story shines brightest are those moments when Kate and her mother are in the same room together, where the complexity of their relationship is revealed. With Marcie lost, of course, these moments are few and far between. With as many family members as chapters, Marcie is at its core a simple morality play convoluted by a lot of step-fathers and flashbacks, masquerading as a mystery even to the end, where the resolution to the disappearance is regrettably too little too late.

Reviewed by Michael Weingartner

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