A journalist and an FBI agent reunite in their small town of Castella Rock to revisit a tragedy that affected them 15 years earlier.
Abigail Winthrop has long since believed that the convicted serial killer known as Dr. X was responsible for the death of her best friend, Cassandra Martin. But when she decides to tell Cass’ story and that of the rural town ripped apart by her murder, Abby realizes that Dr. X wasn’t the killer. He had an accomplice—or, rather, a competitor. FBI agent Paul Harrison grew up as Abby’s next-door neighbor and saw Cass as the love of his life during the trio’s time in high school. He returns to Castella Rock for his late father’s memorial; he hasn’t been back in two years, since the death of Abby’s own father. The memory of Cass and how she was killed still lingers between Abby and Paul, both affected in their own ways. When Abby reveals that Cass’ killer is still out there, Paul will do whatever he can to help solve the case. Abby is a tenacious character and frequently outshines Paul on the page. She’s driven, dogged, and has some Southern spunk to her. And while Paul’s levelheadedness as an FBI agent is commendable, he isn’t nearly as exciting. The mystery of who killed Cass and how the killer evaded capture is the real driving force of the story, whereas the romance barely reaches a simmer. The main wedges between Paul and Abby are the death of Cass and the question of whether a relationship might disgrace her memory. For two characters in their 30s, the 15-year-old murder of a best friend and girlfriend doesn't seem like much of a reason to stay apart. Though there isn’t any doubt how much either character cared about Cass, the lack of emotional maturity bogs down the romance.
Stay for the mystery not the romance.