Camille Preaker is returning to her small home town with many reservations. Having left years ago because her sister died and her mother never loved her, Camille finds herself back. Camille was recently released from a facility to help her stop cutting words into her body and now works at a Chicago newspaper. Her boss wants her to report on a recent kidnapping of a child in her home town, falling on the heels of a murder of a similarly aged child a few months ago.
Camille has a new half-sister, Amma, who gets all the doting attention of her mother. Nothing seems to have changed in the town. Her mother still acts the same way, her mom's friends still gossip as vigorously as they used to, and the police department is too small and inexperienced. Camille starts asking around and instead of getting information on who the possible murderer is, instead gets depressing stories about people that have remained in the town and horrible stories about her mom.
This is Flynn's first book, before Gone Girl became a hit. This is a fantastic book too though and carries its weight against Gone Girl. It had me incredibly angry at Camille's mother, sympathetic towards Camille, questioning Camille's love choices, and pretty much every other reaction I'm sure Flynn was going for.
I could not put this book down. I wanted to slap Camille's mom so many times and just kept hoping for her to get put in her place. This was almost as important to me as determining who the murderer was. I love psychological thrillers and this ranks right up there among the best of them.
First Line: "My sweater was new, stinging red and ugly."