August 2021 Indie Next List
“You’ll find yourself invested in and rooting for each of the young people in this book as they navigate secrets and prejudices to unravel the mystery of what happened to their sister and friend — and why.”
— Alana Haley, Schuler Books (Grand Rapids), Grand Rapids, MI
When a teenaged girl disappears from an insular small town, all of the community's most devastating secrets come to light in this stunningly atmospheric and slow-burning suspense novel--perfect for fans of Megan Miranda and Celeste Ng. The town of Whistling Ridge guards its secrets. When seventeen-year-old Abigail goes missing, her best friend Emma, compelled by the guilt of leaving her alone at a party in the woods, sets out to discover the truth about what happened. The police initially believe Abi ran away, but Emma doesn't believe that her friend would leave without her, and when officers find disturbing evidence in the nearby woods, the festering secrets and longstanding resentment of both Abigail's family and the people of Whistling Ridge, Colorado begin to surface with devastating consequences. Among those secrets: Abi's older brother Noah's passionate, dangerous love for the handsome Rat, a recently arrived Romanian immigrant who has recently made his home in the trailer park in town; her younger brother Jude's feeling that he knows information he should tell the police, if only he could put it into words; Abi's father's mercurial, unpredictable rages and her mother's silence. Then there is the rest of Whistling Ridge, where a charismatic preacher advocates for God's love in language that mirrors violence, under the sway of the powerful businessman who rules the town, insular and wary of outsiders. But Abi had secrets, too, and the closer Emma grows to unraveling the past, the farther she feels from her friend. And in a tinder box of small-town rage, and all it will take is just one spark--the truth of what really happened that night--to change their community forever.
About the Author
Anna Bailey was born in Bristol in 1995 and spent her childhood in Gloucestershire. She studied Creative Writing at Bath Spa university and wanted to become a journalist, but ended up moving to Colorado and becoming a Starbucks barista instead. In 2018 she returned to the UK, where she enrolled in the Curtis Brown Creative Novel-writing course and wrote her first novel inspired by her experience of living in small-town America.