A young woman seeks to identify a murderer when violence strikes her sleepy village.
When party girl Beth sends a text saying she’s met the love of her life up north, where she's taking care of her sick mother, and won’t be coming back to her barmaid job, pub owner Janine is exasperated but not terribly surprised. This sort of spur-of-the-moment decision seems in character. But Beth's best friend and fellow barmaid, Natalie, is skeptical, and soon she and Janine realize that something is wrong; Beth is missing. Then, Victor, an old man and regular at the pub, falls near his caravan, and a young man who was one of Beth’s many conquests is found drowned in the river, his hands tied with pieces of cloth that turn out to have Beth’s blood on them. There is a film crew on set nearby, flooding the pub with strangers, and a cameraman who is keeping a very close eye on Nat, plus Victor’s daughter arrives with her son, fleeing an abusive marriage. Nat sees threats everywhere, but the local police don’t really believe that there’s anything wrong. She must consider everything she knows about Beth as well as face some of her own secrets as she tries to discover the truth. As with many recent thrillers, there is an element of gaslighting in Kent’s novel; while Nat is convinced that Beth has met a bad end, many people think she's just being paranoid, and plenty of people express the rather common sentiment that Beth was at fault since she tended to sleep with men casually and indiscriminately. The novel does little to truly counter these stereotypes, however. Kent (The Loving Husband, 2016, etc.) seems to be the victim of her own formula, and neither the characters nor the mystery satisfy or captivate.
Disappointing; this book lacks the quiet menace and nuanced tension of Kent's previous novels.