In the aftermath of a brutal murder, Markie is struggling to find her footing in the world. Aided by her sister, Kam, the two are finally finding ways for Markie to enjoy life again. Unfortunately, life has other plans as tragedy befalls them once more. It soon becomes clear that these events are far from random occurrences, and the only freedom from a life of torment two sisters can find is finding the mastermind behind it all. Complicated and compelling, Didi Oviatt delivers a deadly and exhilarating murder mystery with her new book, Aggravated Momentum.
The mystery of the book is solid, with a classic thriller concept of a shadowy mastermind killer who has a strong cast and background to play off, with no obvious conclusions or solutions to the many questions raised by the story for some time. Nothing is ever clear-cut, which is definitely in the book’s favor.
The book certainly doesn’t hold back either, indulging the reader early on in some lightly erotic content, and its deadly consequences, as a way to say “this is your last chance to disembark, this ride isn’t slowing down any time soon.” And it really doesn’t. The book is a real heart-pounder from start to finish. The blood-spattered cover should give you a sense of what you’re in for with this novel.
On that same note, it must be said that Oviatt’s writing style here is a little unusual – using the uncommon, but valid, choice of a first-person, present-tense perspective – in that everything from a brush with death to simply taking a shower is presented in a particularly intense manner. Although there are whole chapters of respite early on, the switching points of view in the narrative do become somewhat overwhelming. In short bursts, this is quite rousing, quickly bringing the reader to a height of awareness in the story; in longer reads, the sustained tension is exhausting as there are too few moments that truly feel you’re able to take a breather.
It’s not as if there’s a lack of rising action – you’d be surprised how circumstances can escalate – only that each narrator presents every experience as so intense that the read almost becomes surreal in its relentless stimulation. In short, there may be too much of a good thing. When every moment is dialed to 10, it makes the most dramatic moments less intense as a result.
There’s definitely going to be some readers who adore how unapologetically unique it is in many aspects of the writing, while keeping to the basic recipe of a familiar genre. There are some really good twists and complex relationships in the bloody roller-coaster ride that is Aggravated Momentum, and author Didi Oviatt deserves praise for the overall effectiveness of the final product in spite of her choices to stray from the norm. Overall, the novel is a compelling read, and Oviatt is certainly an author to watch going forward.
Content warning for themes of violence and sexual scenes.
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