Kimberly McCreight's first novel, Reconstructing Amelia, was a New York Times bestseller. Her second novel, Where They Found Her releases next week on April 14/15.
The older I get and the more I realize how many books there are that I want to read, the more selective I've become. If a book doesn't grab me in the first fifty pages, chances are it's going to get set aside. So I appreciate a great opening chapter or prologue that has me wanting to know who, what and why.
McCreight does that with an opening scene with a woman discarding bloody towels - and a reference to a baby. Next we are privy to a counselor's transcript of an interview with Molly Sanderson - she is trying to come to terms with the loss of her baby. And it is Molly who is called out to report for the local newspaper on the discovery of a baby's body near the university grounds of her new home town - picture perfect Ridgedale. Yep, got my attention.
But there's more to the story than what's happening in present day. McCreight's novel has numerous points of view - that of Molly, journal entries from Jenna - who grew up in Ridgedale, but has recently moved back, her teenage daughter Sandy, and Barbara - a woman who also grew up in town, and is now the wife of the local police chief.
The mystery of the dead baby is at the center of the book, but as Molly investigates, she finds that the town is full of secrets and everyone seems to deal in half truths and omissions.
Just as she did in Reconstructing Amelia, McCreight successfully combines a satisfying mystery with an exploration of motherhood and relationships. The town is full of secrets and everyone seems to deal in half truths and omissions.
My favourite character was young Sandy. Her strength and determination had me cheering for her to 'make it'. At the other end of the spectrum was Barbara. Was she ever a piece of work! Her thoughts and dialogue are guaranteed to provoke a reaction from the reader. (Well done Kimberly!) I'm still not sure what I thought about Molly - she is our protagonist, she is likable...but I wasn't cheering her on the way I was with Sandy.
McCreight drops clues along the way as to who the mother of the dead baby is - astute readers will pick up on them. There are a few red herrings and extraneous characters that are a bit too obvious. But, even though I did who the mother was before the final pages, I appreciated the nice little gotcha at the end - the identity of the father.
For me, Where They Found Her was an enjoyable, entertaining read.
"Kimberly McCreight is the author of Reconstructing Amelia. A New York Times bestseller, Reconstructing Amelia was nominated for an Edgar Award, an Anthony Award, and an Alex Award and has been acquired in seventeen countries. McCreight attended Vassar College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School from which she graduated cum laude. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters." You can connect with Kimberly McCreight on her website, on Facebook as well as on Twitter.