A housewife struggling to control her bipolar disorder fears she's responsible for the brutal murder of her neighbor.
Overcome by a wave of mania, Dana Catrell only remembers snippets of events leading up to the death of her friend Celia Steinhauser, who lived down the street in the quiet New Jersey suburb of Paterson. In her stumbling debut, Crawford makes the mistakes of painting every character, no matter how minor, as suspicious and setting readers up for a finale that will tie the disparate plotlines together in a tidy package (spoiler alert: Everything is connected, but it's far from satisfying). Dana lives with her attorney husband, Peter, the kind of man who'd drive anyone mad: boorish, condescending, quite possibly philandering. She longs for the company of her son, Jamie, who's just started college in Boston, and reminisces, albeit less than fondly, about her own college days at NYU, when she dated a mysterious man known only as the Poet and suffered her first bout of manic depression. Her illness waxes and wanes in service of the plot: She often ends up in a diner late at night, where a suspiciously sage waitress doles out philosophical advice along with the coffee. As Dana "works" the case on her end, the official inquiry is headed by Detective Jack Moss, a predictably troubled cop lugging predictably heavy emotional baggage. His investigation leads him to dig into Dana's life as well as Celia's, and poorly plotted intrigue ensues.
With surprisingly little suspense and a cast ranging from unremarkable to unlikable, this tepid whodunit fails to satisfy.