The Last Bridge: A Novel
3.5 out of 5: Teri Coyne’s latest novel, The Last Bridge, begins: “Two days after my father had a massive stroke, my mother shot herself in the head.” And, in terms of depressing plot elements, it’s downhill from there. Told from the perspective of an unlikable (but very believable) alcoholic, nicknamed “Cat” by her siblings, The Last Bridge alternates between the present and the past. As the three siblings converge on their childhood home for their mother’s funeral, the horrors of living with an abusive father are resurrected in flashbacks.
The Last Bridge is a soap opera with literary ambitions. The quick-moving plot, while always engaging, is often melodramatic. At times, Cat’s unmitigated negativity becomes tedious, and the plot device of her mother’s suicide note plays too central a role, breaking up the flow of the narrative. Also, certain “savior” characters that come into Cat’s life at convenient moments are completely unbelievable in their generosity. In spite of these significant issues, however, The Last Bridge is a gripping and well-paced novel. Darkly entertaining.