Well peeps, I’m back! I had the most incredible time away, saw some amazing things, ate all the food, drank all the wine and only read two books the entire time: A Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. They were the perfect vacation books to read on trains and planes, in airports and train stations but I was so glad to be home and get to choose something else.
As soon as I finished Voyager this week, I started Kimberly McCreight’s Where They Found Her. I LOVED McCreight’s first book, Reconstructing Amelia, so when I heard about this follow up, I was all over it. And now that I’ve finished it, it seemed like the perfect kind of book to review after my absence.
Because this is the kind of story that will be RUINED if I accidentally let the wrong detail slip, here’s the summary from Goodreads:
At the end of a long winter, in bucolic Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of an infant is discovered in the woods near the town’s prestigious university campus. No one knows who the baby is, or how her body ended up out there. But there is no shortage of opinions.
When freelance journalist, and recent Ridgedale transplant, Molly Anderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the story for the Ridegdale Reader, it’s a risk, given the severe depression that followed the loss of her own baby. But the bigger threat comes when Molly unearths some of Ridgedale’s darkest secrets, including a string of unreported sexual assaults that goes back twenty years.
Meanwhile, Sandy, a high school dropout, searches for her volatile and now missing mother, and PTA president Barbara struggles to help her young son, who’s suddenly having disturbing outbursts.
This book reminded me of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, in that something truly disturbing has happened in this little community and we find out little by little via the perspectives of these three characters. Kind of like a cross between that and The Girl on the Train.
While the mystery of the dead baby is, obviously, incredibly distressing, it’s pretty clear from the beginning that that dead baby is just the tip of the iceberg. The underlying issue seems to be crime at universities and the way that it’s handled. We’ve all seen in the news how sexual assaults on campus go unreported or unpunished. McCreight uses it as an underpinning for the rest of her story.
I was totally taken in by this story. Reconstructing Amelia was such a joy to read that I wondered how a follow up novel could possibly compete. But Where They Found Her does. It more than holds its own. There were moments a third of the way through when I kind of wondered how anything could possibly relate to anything else but by the end, when the punches where coming fast and furious, leaving me breathless with their sheer brilliance, I was convinced.
I think it’s safe to say that McCreight is a crime fiction heavyweight. After this I will probably read anything she writes.