In Adams’ debut murder mystery, a woman struggles to cope with the death of her husband, and her need for therapeutic solace places a strain on her oldest friendship.
Kim Stone met Kevin when she was a freshman in college and quickly fell in love with him. They eventually married and planned to move from Baltimore to Boston, where he’d just secured a new job. But before they could do so, she found him shot to death, apparently the result of a brutally violent home invasion. Devastated by the sudden loss and stricken with grief-induced insomnia, Kim takes her mother’s advice and attends group therapy. Her childhood friend, Sharon, accompanies her to the sessions, merely to provide moral support. But then Sharon unexpectedly opens up about a youthful catastrophe that she’d kept a closely guarded secret for more than 30 years; in the aftermath of the tragedy, her father left the family, and her now-divorced mother emotionally abandoned her. But despite this breakthrough, Sharon soon grows tired of the therapy sessions, and Kim’s commitment to them starts to drive a wedge between the two friends. Meanwhile, the police have little success in their investigation of Kevin’s murder, but they share their suspicions that Kim’s father could be involved. Author Adams delicately braids two parallel storylines with marvelous concision; at fewer than 150 pages, this is a taut novella that’s both methodical and relentless as it moves toward its climactic conclusion. But it’s more than simply a murder mystery—it’s also a parable about transcending the spiritual torpor of loss, and the author writes poetically about the nature of heartache: “Grief can be deceptively comfortable, like falling asleep on the beach and realizing you stayed too long in the unforgiving sunlight.” Overall, Adams delivers a memorably affecting meditation on the toxic power of secrets.
A haunting tale of personal sorrow wrapped in a dramatically potent mystery.