City Under One Roof is the debut novel from Iris Yamashita, who is also an Academy Award Nominated screenplay writer. The setting is Point Mettier, Alaska (a fictional town), which is accessible by ferry during the summer and a popular destination for tourists. But in the winter months, only a single-lane tunnel allows people in or out of the area. And the tunnel is often blocked by snow, ice or avalanches. In Point Mettier, all 200+ residents live in one building – and there are many odd personalities and secrets to discover.
The story is told from the point of view of three different women . . . Cara, a detective from Anchorage; Amy, a local teenager and Lonnie, a former mental institution resident. Amy discovers part of a body on the shoreline and the local police begin an investigation. Cara is investigating another crime and comes to Point Mettier to see if the cases are connected. Lonnie is obviously a key figure, but her jumbled thoughts are very hard to follow. The three women are all involved in solving the mystery of the body part discovery but also end up searching for clues when three local residents go missing.
I loved the isolated Alaskan setting of City Under One Roof. This book was a pretty quick read and kept my interest with its quirky characters. There is death and violence in the novel and a sense of claustrophobia as the blizzard sets in and the people are stuck in their building and small town. This novel was a pretty good suspense thriller. I would read a sequel if Yamashita writes one.
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