Gudenkauf's scintillating second suspense novel (after The Weight of Silence) opens with the release of 21-year-old Allison Glenn from prison, where she has served five years for an unspecified but particularly horrible crime. Allison is reluctant to enter a halfway house in her hometown of Linden Falls, Iowa, where "even a heroin-addicted prostitute arrested for armed robbery and murder would get more compassion than I ever will." Allison, her family's former golden girl, secures a job at a local bookstore, but her efforts to resume some sort of normal life are undermined by her well-to-do parents' indifference, her sister's hatred, and the stigma of her conviction. Meanwhile, one little boy holds the key to the tragedy that led to Allison's imprisonment. The author slowly and expertly reveals the truth in a tale so chillingly real, it could have come from the latest headlines.
Gudenkauf's second novel (after The Weight of Silence) sees 21-year-old Allison Glenn released on parole after serving five years for an undisclosed but particularly gruesome crime. Disowned by her family and facing a small town's inability to forget her sins, former golden girl Allison reluctantly moves into a halfway house and finds work at a local bookstore, where she unwittingly discovers the key to her tragic past and her potential future: a little boy named Joshua. Verdict: The author unravels the mystery of Allison's crime through the lives of four women. While certain aspects of the story are tinged with melodrama and none of the characters develops a truly unique voice, the suspense is gripping. —Mara Dabrishus, Ursuline Coll., Pepper Pike, OH
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