Fourteen years ago, Angela Wong, a beautiful high school student with her whole life ahead of her, disappeared suddenly. As this book opens, Angela’s dismembered body has been found and her former best friend, Georgina Shaw, is on trial for her part in the murder and atrocities.
The remainder of the novel takes place as Georgina, our third person POV narrator, tells us her story, alternating in voice between both the current day, and the timeline leading up to the events more than a decade ago.
As Georgina’s story unfolds, barely into the first few pages of the book, we meet her former boyfriend, Calvin, who became known as the Sweetbay Strangler. And her high school buddy Kaiser, now a detective working on Angela’s tragic case.
With such a propulsive opening, it was impossible not to become hooked on this story from the start. As the plot thickens however, it was also impossible not to find myself hovering between conflicting emotions, both positive and not. The story itself, was (in no particular order): fascinating, disturbing, annoying, grisly, implausible, icky, and compelling. There were no major characters in the book with any degree of likability, and sensitive or triggered readers should stay clear as the book contains animal, child, violent and sexually abusive and explicit events. Also, I did not enjoy the ending, which I found contrived and somewhat rushed. Still, even saying all that, I had a hard time putting this book down, and it did keep me reading.
There are many great reviews of this book, and I am happy to have read it, as I did, as part of my book stack on the beach. Fans of thrillers, and particularly those characterized by tense and darkly disturbing crimes will likely find much within its pages to enjoy.