A daughter obsesses over the gory details of her mother’s life and lies.
When Christine Moran is just 12 years old, she confesses to a murder that she did not commit. Her mother, Eve, was caught rifling through the wallet of a man she brought home, and when he picked up the phone to call the police, she killed him, firing off six rounds with the gun her ex-husband had left behind for her protection. Christine concocts a story that she had saved her mother from a brutal attack, and her punishment is relatively minor. At first, Christine is happy to lie for her mother, saving her from jail time and strengthening their curious and intense bond. Then Eve has a new baby, the perfect accessory for her crime spree. From her new perspective, Christine begins to resent her mother, realizing just how much of her life has been plagued with deception. The majority of the novel serves as a character study of Eve from her daughter’s perspective. Eve’s trajectory takes her from shoplifting and stealing from family members to more elaborate schemes designed to swindle companies and eventually to a multistate scam using faked credentials and bad checks. Though the novel begins with a murder, there isn't much action after that. Abbott provides chapter after chapter of repetitive examples, all meant to demonstrate Eve’s bad character. While the shoplifting, hoarding of stolen goods, and failed relationships certainly add to the picture, it's her callousness regarding the man she killed that exemplifies who she truly is.
While the characters in Abbott’s debut novel are fully realized, the story meanders and stalls.