“Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.”
The novel starts with a young Samantha running with all her might and then we meet her mother, Gamma and her younger sister, Charlotte. This is a perfectly normal afternoon where the sisters are practising relay race under their mother’s watchful and perfectionist eyes. This is the day when their lives are torn apart by Zachariah Culpepper and his brother. Gamma is killed, Samantha is shot in her head and Charlotte barely manages to run away.
We move twenty-eight years ahead and Charlie (Charlotte) is now practising law in the same town with her father. Her life is falling apart, as her husband is not living with her anymore and she has woken up on this day after a one night stand that has left her sadder still. She wakes up to realise that her phone is exchanged with that of the guy she had met with at the bar. She goes to the school where he teaches to get her phone back when precisely at that time they hear gun shots. Charlie runs to the corridor and her past comes back to her in a flash, dazing her.
Henceforth, we see an emotional ride that Charlie, Sam and Rusty go through as their lives are once again entangled with a shootout and its aftermath. The story continues from this day forth with a few flashbacks to bring to us the lives of the characters and their journeys. Karin Slaughter has portrayed every emotion, the pain, sadness, darkness in each of her characters so well that you will also feel them all.
As the story progresses, just when you think that the dark part is over, that now there will be no revelations, more of the past is revealed. It’s like the night getting darker with each passing hour.
The representation is such that it will leave goosebumps on your skin without revolting you. The macabre of the evening 28 years ago that leaves the sisters scarred for life will seep through the pages into your minds.