A young woman reconnects with her oldest but most troubled friend only to become swept up in the investigation of her brutal murder.
Charlotte Ford and Danielle Reeves were inseparable in high school, joined at the hip until drugs and Danielle’s short stretch in prison drove them apart. Now Charlotte works at a Houston coffee shop, spending her time smoking too many cigarettes and going on runs her lungs shouldn’t be able to handle. When a detective shows up on her doorstop to abruptly inform her of Danielle’s murder—her brutal bludgeoning, rather—Charlotte wonders if her recent meeting with her old friend, the first in years, is connected. Danielle and her wealthy, oblivious mother, Sally, never got along, so Charlotte was intrigued when Sally contacted her in an effort to reach her daughter, which led Charlotte to text Danielle and meet her for a drink, where she learned Danielle was working for a porn website called SweetDreamz. The book is heavy on melodrama and sleazy atmosphere and light on actual plot, as Ginsburg (Dear Weather Ghost, 2013) predictably guides Charlotte down the same self-destructive path Danielle walked, awash with drugs, alcohol, and sex with various sketchy figures from the dead woman’s life. Charlotte spends more time needlessly pointing out that Danielle is gone than trying to find her killer, whose identity becomes rather obvious early on.
Despite some wistful passages about grief that showcase Ginsburg’s background as a poet, Charlotte’s story falls flat.