If you are looking to try a different take on mystery, All That’s Left Unsaid is a great book to start. It has the right amount of mystery and emotion to get you invested and keep you intrigued until the very end.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: HQ Stories
Format I read it in: Paperback, Uncorrected Proof
Just let him go. These are the words Ky Tran will forever regret. The words she spoke when her parents called to ask if they should let her younger brother Denny out to celebrate his high school graduation with friends. That night, Denny–optimistic, guileless, brilliant Denny–is brutally murdered inside a busy restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, a refugee enclave facing violent crime, an indifferent police force, and the worst heroin epidemic in Australian history.
Returning home to Cabramatta for the funeral, Ky learns that the police are stumped by Denny’s case: a dozen people were at Lucky 8 restaurant when Denny died, but each of the bystanders claim to have seen nothing.
Desperately hoping that understanding what happened might ease her suffocating guilt, Ky sets aside her grief and determines to track down the witnesses herself. With each encounter, she peels back another layer of the place that shaped her and Denny, exposing the seeds of violence that were planted well before that fateful celebration dinner: by colonialism, by the war in Vietnam, and by the choices they’ve all made to survive.
“You can’t be there for everyone. You can’t be everything to everyone. People will make their own choices, no matter what you do.”
My goodness, this book is beauty and heartbreak, brilliantly put together. It will hold a special place in my heart. All That’s Left Unsaid is quite close to me, not because Ky will lose a brother. I’ve never felt such loss and I hope to never feel it. But Ky speaks to me because of who she is and where she comes from. Being an immigrant myself, I could connect with Ky’s story in a way that I didn’t anticipate I would. I’ve read many books with this topic before, and didn’t quite click with a character in a way I clicked with Ky. The culture differences and the lost sense of belonging casts a shadow on every written page.
“When I’m away from Cabra, I feel like I’ve shed my own skin. But whenever I come back here, it’s like I didn’t shed anything at all. It’s like I’ve just flipped a switch, you know? And my old self was there all along.”
I devoured this book, because it entwined these motives into an interesting and emotional mystery. Ky is trying to find out who her brother has become in her absence from home. And why he is now suddenly dead. Everyone is keeping secrets and Ky is not sure who to trust.
“It wasn’t the punishment itself that Ky feared. It was the look. The look that said, I expected more from you. I’m disappointed in you. You should be ashamed of yourself.”
I also enjoyed how her past friendship ends up having a role in her present life. The author can portray broken relationships in a very relatable way. Drug abuse and drug dealing are a main topic in this book and they often come up – so please be aware if this may trigger you whilst reading.
“Would an explanation of why something was not done in the past make you feel better? Because if it would change your life for the better and put happiness in your heart, pull up a chair and I will explain everything I have never done.”
About The Author:
Tracey Lien was born and raised in southwestern Sydney, Australia. She earned her MFA at the University of Kansas and was previously a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. All That’s Left Unsaid is her first novel.