This story is about Nic who left her home town of Cooley Ridge ten years ago and has absolutely no desire to go back. She's managed to reinvent herself, obtained two degrees, has a great job that she loves, as well as a lovely fiancee. She's even managed to iron out her accent. But around the same time Nic left Cooley Ridge, her best friend Corrine went missing - and now her father says he's seen her on the porch of their old home. But her father is senile and in a care home - surely he's imagining it?
There are several reasons why I loved this book. Firstly, the characters are so well-drawn I felt I knew these people. They weren't entirely lovable, they all had very realistic flaws - for me, that was part of their appeal. Different aspects of their personalities were dripped into the story, a little at a time, so just when I thought I'd worked someone out, there was another twist to surprise me. And as I read an awful lot of crime fiction, it takes a lot to surprise me! Every character has a very plausible motive for wanting Corrine to disappear. I'd read one chapter and think 'Ha, he's the murderer!' and then in the next chapter I'd think it was someone else, and so on. I never did work it out!
The third reason I really enjoyed this books is that the story is told backwards. You have the beginning, where Nic receives the news about her father, and then the story skips to fifteen days later. The chapter after takes place fourteen days after Nic's arrival in Cooley Ridge, counting down to day one. It is a brilliantly clever way of telling the story; it hits the ground running and doesn't let up in tension until the very end. I did have to concentrate hard though! It's a bit like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle, have someone sweep all the pieces back in the box after an hour, and then having to start all over again!
I would definitely, definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves psychological suspense. With the claustrophobic setting and dysfunctional characters it reminded me of one of my favourite authors, Shirley Jackson. But, like Jackson, the author takes her time in letting the tension mount up and tighten into a stranglehold - which means that if you're the kind of person who devours fast-paced crime thrillers, you might find it a little slow - but I loved it!
Thank you to Megan Miranda, Corvus and NetGalley for my copy of this book, which I received in exchange for an honest review.