‘The truth is out there … somewhere …’
Kiama, NSW provides the physical setting for this atmospheric and twisted tale full of secrets. For Marlowe ‘Lo’ Robertson is an ambitious young journalist, keen to escape what she sees as the suffocating confines of Kiama. Reluctantly covering the annual show for the local newspaper, Lo is horrified when she finds the body of her best friend, and the reigning showgirl, Lily Williams. Lily has been murdered, and Los sees seven strange symbols carved onto her back. Why, then, does Lo’s father, the local police chief, tell Lo not to mention those symbols when she is interviewed as part of the murder investigation? Lo wants answers.
Lily’s murder makes national headlines, and the media descend on the town. While upset about the death of her friend, Lo sees an opportunity to make a name for herself for trying to track down the killer.
What follows is a tale full of twists and turns, of possibilities and red herrings. A secret cult is said to be involved. The more Lo investigates the more convoluted the story becomes. Is there a secret cult? Are the symbols a manifestation of mental illness? Just who is involved? Who can be trusted? There are many different questions and more than a few possible answers. Ms West peoples the novel with some interesting characters, many of whom have secrets of their own and this serves to maintain the tension (mostly) from beginning to end.
I was drawn into (and occasionally thrown out of) this novel until near the end. The conclusion may work for others, but it left me cold.
Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.