Monday, May 4, 2015

Review: Where They Found Her

Summary: An idyllic suburban town.

A devastating discovery.

Shocking revelations that will change three lives forever.

At the end of a long winter in well-to-do Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of a newborn is found in the woods fringing the campus of the town's prestigious university. No one knows the identity of the baby, what ended her very short life, or how she came to be found among the fallen leaves. But for the residents of Ridgedale, there is no shortage of opinions.

When freelance journalist and recent Ridgedale transplant Molly Sanderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the disturbing news for the Ridgedale Reader—the town's local paper—she has good reason to hesitate. A severe depression followed the loss of her own baby, and this assignment could unearth memories she has tried hard to bury. But the disturbing history Molly uncovers is not her own. Her investigation reveals a decades-old trail of dark secrets hiding behind Ridgedale's white picket fences. Told from the perspectives of three Ridgedale women, Kimberly McCreight's taut and profoundly moving novel unwinds the tangled truth behind the tragedy, revealing that these women have far more in common than they could ever have imagined: that the very worst crimes are committed against those we love. And that—sooner or later—the past catches up to all of us. -- Harper

I remember listening to RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA by Kimberly McCreight a few years ago and being rather disturbed. You can read my review in its entirety here. As a mother to a teenage daughter, it was just a little too scary and it made me feel uncomfortable... not always in a good way. Having said that, I thought the book was outstanding and I was very impressed with Ms. McCreight's storytelling abilities as well as her character development.

So when I received a copy of her new novel WHERE THEY FOUND HER, I couldn't wait to read it! I will admit to being slightly reluctant because RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA was so good, and I wondered if her second novel could live up to my expectations. I honestly had nothing to worry about because WHERE THEY FOUND HER was so good -- I absolutely loved it! So much so, that I finished reading it on the drive to church because I couldn't wait another hour or so to find out what happened!

WHERE THEY FOUND HER begins with the discovery of a newborn's body on the border of a college campus. It's a mystery how something like this could have happened in the idyllic community of Ridgedale, New Jersey; and no one knows the identity of the baby or the parents or even how the body could have gotten there.

Molly Sanderson is a wife and mother who has recently moved to this small town and gotten a job at the local newspaper Despite being a life-style reporter, Molly is asked to cover the story. Naturally, Molly's hesitant because of her lack of experience on the crime beat, but she is also still reeling from a bout of major depression after losing a child. Her husband isn't sure that she should be bringing all of her painful memories to the surface.

Molly digs into the story and is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. As she uncovers clues, she discovers that the members of this small town have been hiding dark secrets for decades.

WHERE THEY FOUND HER was fantastic! I loved just about everything about this novel from the characters, to the mysteries, to the way the story unfolded. I haven't been reading as much lately and my attention always seems to be somewhere else; however, I was actually really into this book and loved how all the mysteries came together at the end.

One thing that really stood out to me about WHERE THEY FOUND HER were the characters. Molly was extremely interesting with her baggage from her past, but so were many of the other characters in this story. I appreciated how complex the characters were and I thought they were fully developed -- much more so than your average mystery/suspense novel. In addition, the dynamics of their relationships were so darn interesting. In fact, I think analyzing the behaviors and the motivations of the characters are enough to make WHERE THEY FOUND HER a strong choice for book clubs.

Another aspect of WHERE THEY FOUND HER that I appreciated was the mystery itself... or should I say mysteries? Of course, the book focused on finding out what happened to the dead baby; however, that mystery was just the tip of the iceberg. There was also the question of the baby's parents, a missing person, and many more. In fact the more I read of this novel, the more questions I had about the residents of this community and their pasts. There were secrets and surprises coming forth until the last few pages of the novel, and just when I thought I had everything figure out, there was another shocker.

And finally, I absolutely loved Ms. McCreight's writing. One of the most impressive parts of this novel was how well the story unfolded and how everything was wrapped up by the final page. I've already mentioned that the character development and major plot points were excellent, but it still takes a special writer to put it all together. I was honestly blown away by the way this novel ended -- not so much the surprises (although they were pretty good!), but rather in how it all just came together. I read a lot of mysteries/suspense stories, and WHERE THEY FOUND HER was one of the best written ones I've read in recent memory.

WHERE THEY FOUND HER would make an excellent book club selection. Even though I wasn't able to find a formal discussion guide, I think most groups wouldn't have any issues coming up with some discussion topics. Some of the themes you might want to explore include parenting, marriage, loss, grief, guilt, parent/child relationships, appearances, trust, and secrets.

I thought WHERE THEY FOUND HER was an outstanding read. Highly recommended to fans of mysteries and psychological thrillers.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read. Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

I loved Reconstructing Amelia too, so I've been anxious to read this book. It sounds so good!

Kate said...

Great review, prompted me to buy! Can't wait to read it now.