Wow. This book was a crazy ride. I started reading and couldn’t stop until I finished it. I thought this was a mystery/thriller, but it’s so much more. There is a horror element to the book that I didn’t know was there going in, but thinking back, it makes sense because I was so tense reading it. There were so many times were I had no idea what was going to happen next and the story had plenty of twisty turns and false leads. The writing was so well done that it kept me second guessing throughout the book. The story deals with tough issues including racial prejudice, domestic violence, and class and wealth inequity. The book requires the reader to suspend disbelief toward the end, otherwise it won’t make a lot of sense. I struggled with this until I realized there were other elements besides a mystery.
Liz Rocher is returning home to small-town Johnston, PA to attend her best friend’s wedding. She’s never felt comfortable living there, being one of the few black girls in a predominately white town. She fled after high school, going to college and creating a career in the big city. During the wedding the bride’s daughter Caroline goes missing, leaving behind a bloody piece of fabric. The search begins but Liz starts to notice a pattern of young black girls going missing at the beginning of each summer. As she digs into the mystery, and the long list of potential killers, she creeps closer and closer to danger.
The book is well-written and caught my immediate attention. The chapters are short and alternate between present day, the days that several of the young girls go missing, as well as a day in Liz’s life when she narrowly missed being attacked herself. This back and forth creates tension and just enough information to keep the reader guessing until the crazy ending. Initially I agreed with some reviewers who said the ending was weird, however the more I thought about the story and the layered meanings behind the last few chapters, I changed my mind and enjoyed and appreciated what the author was trying to say. I recommend you read this book and judge for yourself. Just make sure you carve out several hours to read because once you start the book, you’ll be hooked.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine, Bantam. All opinions are my own.