A young environmental lawyer returns to her small Indiana hometown to investigate pollution by a regional plastics giant—but settling old scores and healing old wounds weigh heavily on her mind.
Abby Williams left the aptly named Barrens, Indiana, for Chicago as soon as she turned 18 and never looked back, trading the equivalent of a one-horse town that prizes football and rifles for a sleek apartment and a nameless parade of men she doesn’t have to love. Now an attorney with the Center for Environmental Advocacy Work, she’s headed back to the last place she ever wanted to go, but this time with a mission: take down Optimal Plastics, the corporate giant that’s allegedly polluting the town’s water supply. Along with an eager team of millennials, Abby returns to Barrens to find it both unchanged and almost unrecognizable: the high school girls who used to torment her have grown up and one is even the school’s vice principal, but the town’s allegiance to Optimal is still strong. In Abby’s day, there was a spate of unexplained illnesses, led by Abby’s former best friend, and later biggest foe, Kaycee Mitchell, who displayed bizarre signs akin to either mass hysteria or perhaps environmental poisoning. When Kaycee ran away after high school, the other girls confessed it was a hoax. Now Abby’s not so sure, as she digs deeper into Optimal’s deep ties to the town, some benign and some much more malignant, all while wrestling with her own, somewhat predictable, demons that Ritter (best known for her television role on Netflix’s Jessica Jones) tries admirably to spice up.
A fast-paced thriller that doesn’t reinvent the wheel but introduces a tough female lead who’s easy to root for.