One of my favorite thrillers of 2020 was Kimberly McCreight’s A Good Marriage. After I enjoyed it, I bought her backlist books when I spotted them. McCreight’s debut, Reconstructing Amelia, is well regarded, and I have a copy. What led me to actually picking up Where They Found Her at the present was simply the cover. I grabbed some fall-like books and covers last time I left town in hopes of getting some pictures for Bookstagram. Now that November is winding down, I am realizing I need to read those books or wait another year. So it was time to read this one.
Told through three women, Where They Found Her is the story about a small community and the mysterious death of an unknown infant.
At the end of a long winter, in bucolic Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of an infant is discovered in the woods near the town’s prestigious university campus. No one knows who the baby is, or how her body ended up out there. But there is no shortage of opinions.
When freelance journalist, and recent Ridgedale transplant, Molly Anderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the story for the Ridegdale Reader, it’s a risk, given the severe depression that followed the loss of her own baby. But the bigger threat comes when Molly unearths some of Ridgedale’s darkest secrets, including a string of unreported sexual assaults that goes back twenty years.
Meanwhile, Sandy, a high school dropout, searches for her volatile and now missing mother, and PTA president Barbara struggles to help her young son, who’s suddenly having disturbing outbursts.
Told from the perspectives of Molly, Barbara, and Sandy, Kimberly McCreight’s taut and profoundly moving novel unwinds the tangled truth about the baby’s death revealing that these three women have far more in common than they realized. And that their lives are more intertwined with what happened to the baby than they ever could have imagined.
Where They Found Her is a highly readable novel that takes place after a newborn is found dead in a creek. The story is told through three women who live in the town and are tangentially related to the death.
Due to the way McCreight chose to tell this story, Where They Found Her did not feel like a compulsive, page-turner. Instead, this novel is hinges on the psychological aspects of the story as well as the human toll of the crime and its ripples.
McCreight manages to write this novel with raw emotion, which is refreshing in a thriller. It feels appropriate for the topics broached in the story, such as loss of a child. This emotion also drives character’s actions, making this story feel uniquely female. I do not want that to turn anyone off reading it. It is just to say that the book feels like it has more depth than just locating a murderer and being the hero who solves it. Where They Found Her is a more compassionate story than you typically find in a thriller or mystery.
While the characters were distinct, there were quite a few to keep straight while reading this. I can see that being problematic for some people. I also would have liked the characters to be developed a bit more. One of the narrators stood out as being the most developed character and was, therefore, the one I most connected with. I would have liked to connect with all of the narrators. For me, this would have made it a stronger novel.
Where They Found Her has a strong plot that is different than most, yet relatable. I did guess the major twist prior in the book, but because the story hinges on so much more than one big twist, it did not subtract from the overall enjoyability. However, there was something I felt was missing that I cannot quite pinpoint. Perhaps I did not relate enough to the story because I am not a mother. Or maybe I just wanted it to be a bit more enthralling.
Still, I enjoyed Where They Found Her and would recommend it for those looking for a thriller with a unique storyline and who do not mind a thriller that is at less than break-neck speed.
Where They Found Her
Mystery & Thriller
April 14, 2015