When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.
By Monday morning, one of them is gone.
Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.
As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.
A slow burning psychological thriller, Jessica Strawser created an addictive mystery: did Kristin leave of her own accord (if so, why?) or is Paul hiding something?
Although the mystery itself was highly entertaining, what I enjoyed the most was how the focus was on the effects on the community. The women who were the last to see her were wondering if they missed a warning sign but realized their memories of the night were extremely vague. Clara, the one that is seemingly the closest with Kristin, realizes that she truly never knew her neighbor at all.
Because often the people left behind to shape the narrative have an agenda that doesn’t necessarily revolve around the truth.
Personally, I wish the book had been longer. At only 320 pages (with fairly large print), it was a pretty quick and superficial story, and there were several aspects that I feel a deeper exploration could have enhanced my experience as a reader. The ending almost glossed over some of the key points, which could have been been developed into something more intense if expanded. Even so, it was still a quick, fun read that had me hooked very early on.