post-psych hospital stay, reporter camille preaker is assigned to return to her small hometown to cover the murder of two young girls. leading up to her trip back home, camille has been estranged from her hypochondriac mother and her thirteen-year-old half sister, whose charm and beauty seem to have cast a spell on the entire town. as camille works steadily to crack the case, it is hard to discern what is more unsettling: the truth about the murders, or behind camille’s own past.
“My eyes picked up images in meaningless flashes: The grimy rubber trip of the old man’s cane. A pink mole on the back of the woman’s neck. The Band-Aid on Natalie Keene’s knee. I could feel her name glowing hotly under my shirtsleeve.”
“Number of synonyms for anxious carved in my skin: eleven. The one thing I know for sure is that at the time, it was crucial to see these letters on me, and not just seem them, but feel them. Burning on my left hip: petticoat.”
“I had shattered some delicate dynamic. A multi-child household is a pit of petty jealousies, this I knew, and the Nash children were panicking at the idea of competing not just with one another, but with a dead sister. They had my sympathies.”
“The neckline was lower than I’d thought: The words on my chest looked swollen in the fluorescent light, like worms tunneled beneath my skin. Whine, milk, hurt, bleed.”
“Home home home, like he was trying to hypnotize me.”