When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.
But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.
To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.
For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.
While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.
How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?
I’m so happy other readers put this book on my radar and told me it would be a read for me. I’m usually careful with choosing to read a hyped book, which I definitely think is the case here, but I have to agree that yes, it really is an outstanding novel. I was a bit surprised too that it was an ’emotionally chilling’ psychological thriller and that it turned out to be such a page-turner that I read it in two days.
We meet Geo – short for Georgina – in the present, while she’s standing trial, testifying against Angela’s murderer. The harsh truth is that Geo kept her mouth shut for fourteen years about what she knew had happened to her friend. Of course I felt like she got everything she deserves, the crime is obvious, she lied to her friend’s parents, she let them hope for news about their daughter, and let everyone search for Angela for fourteen long years and yet… it’s not that simple. Through snippets in the present and the past I really got to know Geo and both in present and past she seems like a good person. Her friendship with her best friend Angela was sincere and in the present she honestly cares for her friend Cat, so where did this go wrong, how could she do this?
The story and Geo’s character really grabbed me from the get go. The revelations and events leading up to her murder were dark and gritty and it also calls for trigger warnings. That sense of foreboding keeps growing stronger and while you know Angela’s body was found, I simply couldn’t imagine it would actually be happening or why as Angela was such a bubbly person.
Calvin James is bad news, that’s pretty obvious, he’s someone that I would take a big detour for so why is she still protecting him now by not telling the police he’s been trying to contact her? Dead bodies are piling up again and still she doesn’t say anything. I couldn’t fathom a logical explanation for this at all. No matter how hard I sympathised with her, I felt she was so wrong here and couldn’t redeem her choice.
Hillier made Geo a very likeable character with quite a tragic backstory, one that forgives her for some stupid choices she made, but is it enough to keep forgiving her for what she’s doing in the present? I was wondering how far she was going to push it.
I really liked the entire novel but my favorite part was close to the end where there was a fantastic twist and even when I figured it out right the moment before the lid was blown off, Jennifer Hillier kept the twists coming and wrong-footed me completely with how this would end. It became even more thought-provoking when looking at the choices she made and deciding for myself if Geo’s a good or a bad person. Obviously she’s a bit of both but maybe everybody will lean more toward one side or another. 4.5 well-deserved stars that I’m rounding up for Goodreads and Amazon.
I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.