This is a dark brooding tale. There is much in here which gives a nose into the less seen corners of American life. Hollywood and American TV would have you believe that the whole country is as wholesome as apple pie and life couldn’t be any more perfect. Occasionally we are allowed a glimpse over the fence. Most recently ‘Killer Joe’ and ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ have shown us some of the most disturbing facets of life outside of the comfort zone sold to the rest of the world. This book inhabits this corner and I’m a little surprised it has been optioned as a movie although I guess that books like “the lovely bones” travelled similar routes. This is as close to “gritty” as you will get from a modern American author. I’m excluding the plethora of plastic serial killer rubbish you get from authors such as P J Tracy et al. This has the feeling of real. Believable. Possible.
We’re introduced to Libby Day, the sole survivor of a massacre which saw her brother placed behind bars on the basis of her evidence.
Libby is running out of cash and is persuaded to look into the murders and ask questions of the people who surrounded the events of a January day in 1985.
The information comes to us by flashback and through the interviews with those people.
It’s quite bleak but very well done and a good thriller. I’m only slightly disappointed by the sequence close to the end of the book which is clearly there to provide a dramatic visual denouement to a forthcoming movie. Writing books as screenplay is an annoyance of mine and its fast becoming the only way authors write. They seem to head for the “how will this work as a movie” before trying to write a book which will stand on its own two feet as a work of literature.