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FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GONE GIRL
Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.
jammed. My mother had padlocked it. I pulled again and again. I could hear the silvery clink of all those blades sliding onto each other. Like petulant metal fish. My skin was hot. I was about to go call Curry when the doorbell insinuated itself with its polite tones. Peering around the corner, I could see Meredith Wheeler and John Keene standing outside. I felt like I’d been caught masturbating. Chewing the inside of my mouth, I opened the door. Meredith rolled in, assaying the rooms, letting
hiked into the woods, downhill and back up. The cottonwood leaves shimmered, as always, with imaginary breeze. Occasionally we could hear an animal skitter away, a bird suddenly take flight. Richard walked assuredly behind me, plucking leaves and slowly tearing them apart along the way. By the time we reached the spot, our clothes were soaked, my face dripping with sweat. It was an ancient one-room schoolhouse, tilting slightly to one side, vines weaving in and out of its slats. Inside, half a
a little … off.” “With the sex you mean?” I stopped, my heart making rumba thumps in my chest. The air smelled of irises, and I could feel the scent float into my nose, my lungs, my blood. My veins would smell of purple. “Just, you know, lashing out. You know. I know you know.” She took my hand and offered me a pure, sweet smile, petting my palm, which might have felt better than any touch I’d ever experienced. On my left calf freak sighed suddenly. “How do you lash out?” We were near my
but not angry. Coaxing. Nice, even. I remained silent. A few more jiggles. A knock. Then silence as she padded away again. Camille. Open up. The image of my mother sitting on the edge of my bed, a spoonful of sour-smelling syrup hovering over me. Her medicine always made me feel sicker than before. Weak stomach. Not as bad as Marian’s, but still weak. My hands began sweating. Please don’t let her come back. I had a flash of Curry, one of his crappy ties swinging wildly over his belly, busting
lips and the way he smacked his tongue, I guessed he’d vomited once already. I grabbed my drink and sat across from him, said nothing. He smiled at me, reached his hand to mine across the table. “Hi Camille. How’re you doing? You look so nice and clean.” He looked around. “It’s … it’s so dirty here.” “I’m doing okay, I guess, John. You okay?” “Oh sure, I’m great. My sister’s murdered, I’m about to be arrested, and my girlfriend who’s stuck to me like glue since I moved to this rotten town is