On the night of their high school graduation, Kathryn’s best friend Jennifer says that she’ll be right back and never returns to the bonfire. She’s never heard from and no body ever turns up. She simply disappeared from the woods, leaving questions and secrets behind. Ten years later, Kathryn is returning home after a divorce to stay at her childhood home and regroup. Everything that was never dealt with that night will be, as Kathryn is asked to write a follow up article on her friend’s disappearance and the re-interview her (then) tight knit circle of friends. Jennifer’s disappearance has taken a toll on many, if not all of them in very different ways and while Kathryn is hoping to gain new information, she’s also trying to pick up the pieces of her life (with a very terrible hair dye job) and get back onto her feet.
While Kathryn runs her investigation she’s forced to reconcile that perhaps neither she nor the rest of the friends ever really knew the same Jennifer. She offered different parts of herself to each of them but never the same part. Using this new found knowledge, Kathryn’s able to garner new information that is pertinent to finding her missing friend. However, it will also give a concrete answer whether or not Jennifer’s disappearance was simply her fleeing from the small town they grew up in, or if someone took her that night.
My husband bought this book for me for Christmas. Every year we try to pick out a book that we think the other will like (or in my case, I bought him Ready Player One because I just needed him to read it!). Based on the synopsis, I really thought that he nailed it in terms of books that I like to read and subject matter. In reality, it wasn’t a very good mystery. There is a very small attempt of the use of a red herring but the person responsible for Jennifer going missing is exactly who you think the person is (not a spoiler, I’m not telling you if she’s living or dead that’s the real mystery of the book). The certainty of who it is never waivers…which is a shame because I liked the rest of the book very much. It wasn’t revolutionary, it used the trope of a person feeling lost after a divorce, coming home, reconnecting with old friends/new loves, going to a reunion, and yada, yada, yada. I had fun with it and I can see it making a tight little Lifetime Movie. There’s not enough going on for a feature film but with flashbacks to the high school days, and cuts of the reunion and Kathryn’s slow transformation, a sexy little romance with a former classmate and a random last act showdown? Yep, it’d work just fine. I myself, love Lifetime Movies because I think they’re great little masterpieces. They’re not good really, but the fact that someone cared to make them, makes me happy–especially when so many of them have the most insane plot points imaginable (please tell me someone saw the crazy one with Justine Bateman where she steals the guy’s sperm??)
I never read any of Baker’s other works (I know that just about everyone read the Orphan Train ,right? I missed that boat and can’t make myself get it) so I don’t know how they compare. While I was expecting a very tense thriller, I got a more mild version, but a decent story nonetheless. So thanks John! You definitely know what I like, too bad the book didn’t quite hold up to the lure that was the back of the book synopsis.
Not quite 3 stars…more like 2.8.