When a true-crime podcaster disappears, her biggest fan sets out to find her.
After a miscarriage and a divorce, Sera Fleece feels like she’s “wrong in the world” and that if she were to disappear, no one would miss her. She’s slowly unraveling. Rachel Bard’s podcast, Murder, She Spoke, which Sera is obsessed with, keeps her from coming apart completely. When the podcast abruptly stops, with no updates on social media, Sera becomes convinced something bad has happened to Rachel and decides to put the investigation skills she learned from the podcast to work. Using bits and pieces of personal information revealed on the podcast, Sera makes her way to Fountain Creek Guest Ranch in Northern California, owned by Rachel's family. Arriving at the remote ranch, she realizes she needs a good story, so she pretends she’s looking for work. Luckily, she knows how to handle horses, and Rachel’s larger-than-life mother, Addy, hires her as head wrangler. This is an opportunity for Sera to investigate, and she soon notices a palpable strangeness at the ranch. There are no guests or internet access, the horses aren’t healthy, and Addy thinks Rachel might have been killed by a dangerous gang that roams the borders of their land. It only gets weirder. Sera discovers that more women have disappeared from Fountain Creek, and she’s not sure whom she can trust. Even Jed, the handsome cowboy she falls for, seems to be hiding something. Sera’s urgent narration often takes on an uneasy, dreamlike quality and is directed solely to Rachel, who's addressed as “you.” Sera eventually finds within herself a courage and resolve she didn’t know she possessed: She can’t leave until she finds Rachel, even when her instincts tell her to run. Snippets from Rachel’s podcast precede each chapter, heightening and building the uneasy narrative all the way to a none-too-tidy finale.
A disquieting and distinctly creepy debut.