Friday, December 9, 2022

Where the Truth Lies

  Where the Truth Lies
Author:  Anna Bailey
Publication Information:  Atria Books. 2021. 384 pages.
ISBN:  198215716X / 978-1982157166

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "The roar of the bonfire is hard to distinguish from the sound of the trailer-park boys and the schoolgirls who holler and dance in the shadow of the Tall Bones"

Favorite Quote:  "Guilt is a hard body to bury, no matter how many times you might claim God forgives you. You let some things fester long enough, they grow teeth and claws and crawl their way back to the surface again."

Reader beware:  This book features themes of physical and emotional abuse as well as violence, drinking, drugs, and more. It is dark!

This book was also published under the title Tall Bones

In the beauty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains lies the small town of Whistling Ridge. In this small town lies hate, discrimination, abuse, and murder. The darkness belies the beautiful setting.

A young girl disappears without a trace. The book deals with what happens next and also goes back to the events of the past that lead to the disappearance. The past and the present come together to provide the answer of what happens to Abigail.

Amongst the characters are Abigail's family - father Samuel, mother Dolly, older brother Noah, and younger brother Jude. The family covers up secrets of its own - secrets that are not quite as secret as they think for evidence of abuse is everywhere. Fear keeps them pretending otherwise. The town knows and does nothing.

Then, there is Emma, Abigail's best friend. Emma's ethnic heritage makes her stand out in this community. It also makes her the target of prejudice and hate. Abigail's disappearance adds guilt to that burden for Emma was perhaps the last person to see Abigail, and she left Abigail against her better judgement. The town knows and propagates the hate.

Finally, there is Rat, a young man who is yet another outsider in this community. As someone different, he too is the target of prejudice and of suspicion. Again, the town knows and feeds into the hate.

The darkness of this book is embedded into the characters themselves. "I know we've all got that fantasy of telling the people who hurt us just how much it hurt, but most of the time they're not even sorry, and then what? You're just going to be pissed off for the rest of your life?"

Each character seems to also accentuate a certain stereotype rather than develop into a multi-dimensional individual. It also appears that the book expands unnecessarily to include every trigger stereotypes. As such, the story does not develop for me. The impact scatters, and even the victims in the book end up not relatable or likable. In a world becoming more and more polarized along stereotypes, a book that pulls on the ideas creating that divide, for me, is a challenge to get through.

The plot is also more about the emotional ramifications of what led to Abigail's disappearance and of the ripples and seismic changes that disappearance results in. It is less about "thriller." This is a depressing and dark story, and it is nothing of what I expect from the title or the description. I walk away, completely not the reader for this book.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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