An impressive first effort, vivid and haunting: the tale of four women of means who share a deep secret that binds them in guilty friendship until their middle years--when the strain at last beans to tell. Since Lily Vaughan's murder shocked the tiny, exclusive Cabot College community, these four classmates of hers have kept in constant contact--despite the different paths their lives have taken. Susie joined New York high society; Lisbeth found fame in Hollywood as a screenwriter; Quinn shunned her blue-blooded Boston family to become a research scientist; Dinah, the runt of the group, married and moved to suburban Connecticut. Now, 20 years later, their stable lives are shattered by a series of brutalizing incidents, starting with ugly reminders of Lily's violent end. Crises develop, and envelop them, as Dinah is divorced by her husband and Susie becomes estranged from hers. Quinn finds a long-lost brother, only to have him betray her, while Lisbeth's first play lays an egg on Broadway. These events bring the women even closer together, but they find little comfort in their companionship, as terrifying attacks begin to threaten whatever each holds most dear. Relating each private hell in a succession of increasingly chilling scenes, Silber builds to a suspenseful, and unrelentingly bleak, finale--and uses Manhattan's most forbidding shadows and nightmares to enhance the somber tone. Persistently macabre, and richly textured, this leaves traces of a lingering horror. A promising debut novel.