Noa P. Singleton is on death row for shooting Sarah Dixon, a young pregnant woman. Six months before her scheduled execution, Sarah’s mother, an attorney, Marlene Dixon shows up to tell Noa that she has started M.A.D (Mothers Against Death) and that she wants to petition the governor to grant Noa clemency. What she really wants is to hear Noa’s story, a story that Noa has never told to anyone, not during her trial or her incarceration.
There were moments of beautiful and wrenching writing, but there were just as many times where the writing was awkward or it felt as the author used ten-dollar words just to prove she knew them. Unfortunately, most of the main characters are often annoyingly pathetic – Noa, her father, Marlene, even Sarah in her brief appearances. The only character that might be consistently likable is Ollie, Marlene’s assistant attorney, and even he disappoints in the end.
It is a story full of guilt and remorse, for all parties involved, that goes back and forth in time between the present and Noa’s past, as well as alternating between Noa’s story and Marlene’s as told through letters she writes to her dead daughter. This does not confuse the story, although I admit to getting bored by it about half way through. The story grabbed me again, but ultimately disappointed in the end. I do not need, nor did I necessarily expect, everything to get tidied up neatly, but it seemed like nothing was really resolved and what was revealed was not startling, just sad.
I really wanted to like this novel, there was a lot of positive buzz around it, but much like Gone Girl, I didn’t think it lived up to the hype. That’s not to say that I didn’t like it, it was OK, it just didn’t grab me and leave me wanting more.
Title: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton
Author: Elizabeth L. Silver
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Publication: Crown, June 2013