Title: The Last Bridge
Author: Teri Coyne
Teri Coyne’s novel, The Last Bridge, introduced itself to me with a gunshot. Two days after my father had a massive stroke my mother shot herself in the head. This is how I know a book is going to be a good one – first sentences. If the first sentence doesn’t grab me and shake me around a bit, the chances of me reading into the second, third or three hundredth are slim. Coyne succeeded in getting me to read on, and I’m glad she did.
While I wouldn’t compare this book to a Jodi Picoult book, as I have heard it done, I would say that she is just as talented. The similarities begin and end at the topics she chooses to write about, the ones that make people uncomfortable. To say that I was uncomfortable ninety percent of the time from beginning to end would be a very accurate statement. This is exactly what makes this novel impossible to put down.
The writing is refreshingly creative, and Coyne’s imagery and attention to detail is flawless. Her ability to manipulate words to fit into her puzzle is a gift, and reading her word combinations was just as, if not more, enjoyable to read as the plot.
Coyne’s character, Cat, is an alcoholic cocktail waitress who is dealing (or not dealing) with the effects of her abusive past. Along the way, the characters that make up her ex-boyfriend, brother and sister are developed to increase our attachment to Cat. While the supporting characters enhance the story for the most part, I was a little thrown off the by Andrew Reilly. Knowing that this character is meant to play a great part in the He isn’t who you think he is sub-plot, I feel that he was a bit underdeveloped. Andrew Reilly aside, Coyne builds her characters wonderfully. We like Cat in spite of her, we hate her father like she hates her father, and our feelings change for every other character at the exact moment that Cat’s feelings change for them. This is what character development should be.
The title is perfect. Clearly. However, I felt surprised by the character that introduced us to it. In my opinion, it should have been the character who was indeed standing on her very last bridge.
Overall, I give The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne 3.5 stars out of 5. I found some holes that could use a little patchwork, but they don’t make the quilt any less spectacular.
* Reviewed for LibraryThing.com and Random House Books. Please feel free to visit my library at LT by following the link on the right navigation toolbar (at the very bottom).