My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Krysten Ritter's first novel is solid effort, a suspenseful tale involving environmental justice and the company that may or may not be poisoning the small Indiana town of Barrens, a town that loves the company slightly less than it loves Jesus but slightly more than it loves football. Our heroine is Abigail "Abby" Williams, part of a team of Chicago lawyers sent in to investigate the possibly pollution, but also a former Barrens resident herself. Abby's life has not been easy. She lost her mom to cancer and her father was abusive. The other girls at school bullied and tortured her, so Abby has worked hard to leave Barrens in her past.
Abby's childhood best frenemy Kaycee Mitchell hasn't been seen in Barrens since shortly after they graduated from high school. Although local legend holds that she escaped the small town for a more glamorous life, Abby suspects Kaycee's disappearance may be related to a rash of illnesses associated with the town's drinking water. To investigate, she much navigate reluctant small towners who are worried about their meager livelihoods, an estranged father who now seems more frail than frightening, and both locals and colleagues whose good faith can only be trusted so far.
In her quest to investigate the town's mysteries, in her traumatic past, and in her capacity to consume alcoholic beverages, Abby Williams may remind some of Ritter's fans of her Marvel/Netflix character Jessica Jones. Abby Williams may not have Jones' superhuman strength, but she is just Jessica Jones-like enough that Marvel fangirls will enjoy the read.
|(Photo/Jana Lynn French/ Peabody, email@example.com in New York City, New York on Wednesday, May 18, 2016)|
One of the three blurbs on the back is by Ruth Ware, the English suspense fiction author whose novel In a Dark, Dark Wood I enjoyed so well. This book reminded me less of that novel, though, and more of Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. Knoll's protagonist was also desperately trying to escape a nightmarish high school experience.
I first became aware of Krysten Ritter as an actress on one of my all-time favorite TV series, Veronica Mars. In my head I imagine her as the black-haired but cold-hearted beauty Charlotte Campbell in Robert Galbraith's Cormoran Strike novels. And yes, I love her in Jessica Jones and am eagerly awaiting its second season to appear on Netflix this March. So I read this while I'm waiting.
I purchased this book with my own funds from my local brick and mortar Barnes and Noble and was not obligated in any way to review it. My copy is signed by Ritter, but not personally. I just bought it off the shelf that way. It's pretty cool.
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