My stay at home obsession with the My Favorite Murder podcast led me to this title. Not something that I would generally read, but Georgia Hardstark’s ringing endorsement nudged me to give it a try. Not sure that it was really my bag, but I can see the appeal for some true crime fiends.
Over two decades after their older sister’s disappearance, her two estranged siblings find themselves confronting the trauma of their childhood all over again. The youngest sister, Claire, is living a privileged life of luxury as the wife of a successful architect. The middle sister, Lydia, is a struggling single mother trying to keep her head above water financially while maintaining her sobriety. When Claire and her husband are assaulted in an alley and he is killed, a rabbit hole into his double life opens up and the sisters are dropped right in.
The story is told from both of the sisters’ perspectives, but the most poignant parts, are told through their father’s journal. Written to Julia, the daughter that disappeared, the journal entries relate everything that is happening after her disappearance; a chronicle of a family falling apart. His decline, in particular, is heartbreakingly documented.
That being said, the book was a little overboard with the gory details. As a big fan of Thomas Harris’s Hannibal ouevre, I’m not generally super squeamish about sordid murder-y details, but this particular book dipped a bit too far into it for me. Could be that the times we are living in render me a wee bit more sensitive to piling more gruesome and depressing things in my Covid corner, but I found a lot of the book to be steeped in gratuitious violence.
I do admire how Slaughter addresses the idea of victim blaming, though. She weaves it through the story targeting the obvious “she asked for it” cliches as well as the deeper issue of believability and the power of the male voice. It was just hard to hear that message over the screaming and the power tools.