In the propulsive debut novel from the host of the #1 true crime podcast “Crime Junkie,” a journalist uncovers her hometown’s dark secrets when she becomes obsessed with the unsolved murder of her childhood neighbor—and the disappearance of another girl twenty years later.
Everyone from Wakarusa, Indiana, remembers the case of January Jacobs, who was found dead in a ditch hours after her family awoke to find her gone. Margot Davies was six at the time, the same age as January—and they were next-door neighbors. In the twenty years since, Margot has grown up, moved away, and become a big-city journalist, but she’s always been haunted by the fear that it could’ve been her. And the worst part is, January’s killer has never been brought to justice.
When Margot returns home to help care for her sick uncle, it feels like walking into a time capsule. Wakarusa is exactly how she remembered: genial, stifled, secretive. Then news breaks about five-year-old Natalie Clark from the next town over, who’s gone missing under eerily similar circumstances. With all the old feelings rushing back, Margot vows to find Natalie and solve January’s murder once and for all.
But the police, the family, the townspeople—they all seem to be hiding something. And the deeper Margot digs into Natalie’s disappearance, the more resistance she encounters, and the colder January’s case feels. Could the killer still be out there? Could it be the same person who kidnapped Natalie? And what will it cost to finally discover what truly happened that night?
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(4 / 5) Holy cow, what did I just read?
A young child was taken and killed when Margot was a child. She was her best friend. When Margot moves back to her hometown to take care of her aging uncle, she gets wrapped up in another case just as eerie.
The reader is led to believe one aspect of the story but then more information is given so you believe something else, then it changes again and again! It was well thought out. It had me suspecting everyone at one point or another.
I loved the emotional roller coaster Margot went through with details about her uncle’s memory loss and that life but also the investigation she had started. That was raw and real and I loved it.
It has a small JonBenet Ramsey vibe, always a mystery with real public interest.
That ending was my favorite. Oh it just shows how miscommunication can ruin someone’s life. Who hates miscommunication tropes? Me. But this didn’t feel like a trope and it just added that extra bang at the end. Brilliantly done.
Audio: I won’t repeat myself too much but you know how I feel when authors narrate their own books! I love it and it always add more to the book. The author and 2 others narrated and I was always interested. Their voices matched what I thought the characters should sound like and emotion was done well.
General content summary: While there were definitely death and crime scene details, it did well to not dwell on any aspect. You had just enough information without it being gory, maybe a bit cringey though.
F words= 20+ language, alcoholism and previous rehab, missing young girl dead, previous missing girls cases (details, sexual abuse), teen kissing, previous suicide (some details), young girl death and details, early onset memory loss (multiple), smoking marijuana, f/f kissing and relationship, miscarriage, physical violence (few), killings (details).
Thank you to PRH Audio for the complimentary copy!
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