In her debut novel, Krysten Ritter takes the readers to a small town that has it's fair share of town secrets:
Abby Williams could not wait to get out of Barrens, Indiana after she graduated high school. Now 10 years later she is back to investigate Optimal Plastics, the town's most high-profile company and economic heart, for environmental reasons but Abby believes that Optimal Plastics holds the information that would also solve an age old disappearance of Kaycee Mitchell, Abby's best friend in high school. Abby knows that the she is there to investigate the environmental transgressions of the company but she cannot put Kaycee's disappearance behind her. What Abby will find that is that all towns have secrets, some more diabolical than other.
This book was pretty good for a debut novel, I found the plot was well laid out and I'm a sucker for a small town read, I love that everyone knows each other and that there is always at least one town dirty secret that they do not want outsiders to know about. When it comes to secrets Ally's hometown of Barrens has them in spades.
Although the premise of this book is very interesting, the main character was such a let down. She doesn't really do any investigating in the book, just kind of goes from rumour to rumour (albeit between drinks) and from two different men that seem to have nothing to do with or affect the plot at all. I'm all for flawed characters, I mean this is what makes them more real, but they need to have some sort or redeeming quality or intelligence to get the job done. I kept trying to find this with Ally and it never materialized.
Overall, I found the book was somewhat predictable and not the thriller that it was pegged to be. Yes, I will agree with the tag line that it is a slow burner, yep slow is true as the first half of the book is not about Abby investigating Optimal Plastics (though Abby investigating anything is hard to come by in this book) but more about getting to know Abby as a character and her relationship with Barrens and it's residences. I just wish this book was more investigative than a returning home type book.
If you like small town based books then I think you will enjoy this book. I think that Ritter does have the ability to tell a story, and I think executed a bit differently I would have loved this book, but this was just an okay read, with me continually wanting to strangle the main character hindered my enjoyment of this book. It will be interesting to see what Ritter comes up with next and I would pick it up.