Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Darkest Corners - Kara Thomas

The Darkest Corners
Kara Thomas

YA Thriller

Tessa and Callie were best friends who did everything together as children.  Then, one night, everything changed.  Callie’s college-aged cousin disappeared in the middle of the night while babysitting the two young girls.  Her body was later found in circumstances that led the police to believe that she’d been the most recent victim of a serial killer active in the area.  The two little girls were questioned by their parents, the police, and, eventually, lawyers.  They both knew that the bad man needed to go to jail.  He did, largely on the strength of their testimony.

Their lives diverged widely after that night.  They were kept apart, for reasons the adults never really explained to them.  Tessa ended up moving to Florida to live with her grandmother.  Callie stayed in their Pennsylvania hometown with her parents.  Ten years later, they’re both ready to graduate from high school.  Both have tried to put the trial behind them.  But now that’s impossible.  The convicted man still insists that he’s innocent, and is asking for a new trial based on new evidence.  Tessa returns to try to reconnect with Callie, and to put the ghosts of her past to rest.  The problem is that Callie doesn’t seem interested at all in reliving the past, or in reviving their friendship.

This story is fairly intense.  Tessa has some added family drama (since she left PA, she hasn’t seen or spoken to her mother at all) to add to the mix.  She wants to track down her mom and maybe even find the older sister who left the family soon after the murder.  She feels certain that it’s all connected; but how sure can you really be about your perceptions at age nine?  The same goes for what the girls did/didn’t witness of events leading up to the murder.  Could you recall every detail of your day today?  How about every single detail of the average Tuesday you had three weeks ago?  And how much more stressful to have your parents, the police, and lawyers asking the same questions over and over again.  The stakes get considerably higher when, not long after Tessa arrives back in town, one of her other childhood friends turns up dead.

There’s the story of the mystery, which is fascinating and very twisty.  There’s the mystery of what happened to Tessa’s family after the murder, and her attempts to track down clues and follow leads.  Then there’s the very human story of Tessa and Callie, who were once inseparable, but now feel like complete strangers to each other.  Both have put up some walls, and that makes sense.  Hoping for the walls to come down is only the beginning.  Finding out the truth is the only way the girls – and the rest of the town – are going to have peace about this.  The novel is so fast-paced that I read it in two sittings.  It’s almost impossible to put this one down once you’ve started it.

Rating: 8
May 2017

ISBN# 978-0-553-52148-1 (trade paperback)


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