HOW WILL I KNOW YOU? by Jessica Treadway


Email this review


Treadway’s (Lacy Eye, 2015, etc.) thoughtful mystery explores the aftermath of a young girl’s murder and the effects her absence has on those closest to her.

Joy’s body is found a month after she goes missing and was presumed drowned. Her parents and best friend, already in mourning, are now faced with the additional fact that she was strangled. When the interim police chief arrests one of the few black men in town because of a single witness, the consequences take their toll on everyone: the accused, his lover, the chief’s daughter and her husband, and Joy’s best friend. Told out of chronology and through different characters' voices, with sections titled “Before,” “After,” and, finally, “During,” the novel steadily composes a poignant portrait of Joy fragment by fragment, but despite being the center of the narrative, she is not the central character. The focus is more clearly on her friends and family, exploring how they are able to find redemption and peace as they come to terms with their loss. Though it can be read as a mystery, the book is more truly a set of complex character sketches revealing deep flaws and human weaknesses but also examining how people live with their most devastating mistakes. The secondary theme of society’s casual racism seems timely, and Treadway does a good job gently exposing the divide that still exists in our country, especially at times of high tension. In the end, this is a novel about relationships and the conflicts between friends, parents and children, husbands and wives that we all must navigate every day. The murder is just a catalyst.

Nuanced, probing, and honest. Well worth a read.

Pub Date: Dec. 6th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4555-5411-9
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2016


FictionLACY EYE by Jessica Treadway
by Jessica Treadway
FictionABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE by Jessica Treadway
by Jessica Treadway


FictionDARK ROOMS by Lili Anolik
by Lili Anolik
FictionTHE POCKET WIFE by Susan Crawford
by Susan Crawford