A woman convicted of killing her baby comes to believe he’s still alive and finds herself at the center of a vast revenge plot that nearly ruins her life in this debut novel.
Susan Webster has spent four years in a psychiatric facility after being found guilty of killing her 3-month-old son, Dylan. But Susan, who has legally changed her name and moved to a remote village, has no memory of the murder. So when a photo showing a 4-year-old boy with the name "Dylan" on the back shows up at her door, she’s unsure if it’s someone sending her a message about the real fate of her son or a vigilante out to punish her further. As she’s targeted by more and more inexplicable vandalism and messages, she and two friends set out to find the truth. The novel deals with multiple weighty themes—postpartum depression, the privileges of the wealthy, violence against women—but none are explored to their full potential. The book is packed with multiple threads and many characters, hopping back and forth in time until all the pieces come together. Although the mystery is engaging, the characters are largely one-dimensional; Susan is gratingly vain and quick to judge other women on sight, but this pronounced trait doesn’t build to anything or contribute to her story. The narrative is uneven and could have benefited from a tighter, more controlled focus on one or two of the many intersecting motivations that bring the story to a close.
Less thriller than soap opera.