THE GIRL IN THE WOODS by Patricia MacDonald


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A woman's determination to use her dying sister’s confession to exonerate an innocent man brings her into the eye of danger.

Blair Butler has returned to her hometown in the Poconos to say goodbye to her older sister, Celeste, who’s in the final days of hospice care. Focused on understanding Celeste’s plans for her 10-year-old son, Malcolm, and making sure their Uncle Ellis doesn’t somehow get custody, Blair is blindsided by a shocking deathbed confession. Celeste admits she lied about facts surrounding the murder of Blair’s childhood best friend, Molly Sinclair, whose body was found in the local woods. Celeste could have given Adrian Jones an alibi if she hadn’t been scared to admit to being with a black boy while she was being raised in a household in which Uncle Ellis proudly displayed his Nazi memorabilia. Blair promises to investigate but doesn’t know where to start. Adrian, now known as Yusef Muhammed, was convicted of Molly’s murder and has been in prison for years. He’s unimpressed with Blair’s promise to seek the truth and free him, and he shuts down her pose as his potential savior when he’s known he was innocent the whole time. Blair turns for help to a childhood acquaintance, disgraced news personality Rebecca Moore, even though Rebecca makes it clear that only the promise of professional accolades will get her involved. Blair’s last hope is cop-turned–private investigator Tom Olson, but when his initial inquiries raise the stakes dangerously, that hope is crushed. Even so, Blair’s still a fighter, and she’s determined that the truth will prevail, though her own efforts in an ongoing investigation may bring her up against the same peril that destroyed Molly.

MacDonald (Don’t Believe a Word, 2016, etc.) scores once again with an apparently hopeless quest for justice even if her climactic chapters veer into a rehash of Emma Donoghue’s Room.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-7278-8778-8
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Severn House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2018


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