Reading Matters

Debut thriller set in affluent Baton Rouge

M.O. Walsh
M.O. Walsh The Huffington Post

“I’d heard about the girl down the street,” writes M.O. Walsh, as background to his novel-just-out-in-paperback My Sunshine Away. “I knew something bad had gone down. But I was so young at the time, just a boy running around without a shirt on. I still collected comic books and baseball cards. ...Life was good. What was there to worry about?”

So writes Walsh about a crime in his neighborhood that was talked about over his young head.

But nothing is ever lost on a writer.

Years later, Walsh sat down to write, and a memory he’d long buried began to resurface.

A 15-year-old girl in the narrator’s neighborhood is attacked one night while riding her bike home from track practice. No arrests are made. But innocence is shattered for her, for the 30-sometehing narrator, their families and everyone along Piney Creek Road in an affluent section of Baton Rouge.

The result is My Sunshine Away, a novel the Chicago Tribune called “a brilliant meditation on the unpredictability and the lifelong effects of childhood events and relationships: how they make us who we are, and who we wish we were, and who we wish we weren't.”

Walsh will read from and talk about his debut novel at 7 p.m. on Friday at Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road, Park Road Shopping Center.

Dannye: dpowell@charlotteobserver.com

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