Trigger Warning ⚠️ for rape, drug use, drinking, Murder, and violence
On a scorching July night in 1983, a group of teenagers goes camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and the youngest of the group—Aurora Jackson—is delighted to be allowed to tag along. The evening starts like any other—they drink, they dance, they fight, they kiss. Some of them slip off into the woods in pairs, others are left jealous and heartbroken. But by morning, Aurora has disappeared. Her friends claim that she was safe the last time they saw her, right before she went to sleep. An exhaustive investigation is launched, but no trace of the teenager is ever found.
Thirty years later, Aurora’s body is unearthed in a hideaway that only the six friends knew about, and Jonah Sheens is put in charge of solving the long-cold case. Back in 1983, as a young cop in their small town, he had known the teenagers—including Aurora—personally, even before taking part in the search. Now he’s determined to finally get to the truth of what happened that night. Sheens’s investigation brings the members of the camping party back to the forest, where they will be confronted once again with the events that left one of them dead, and all of them profoundly changed forever.
This book was…wowza. I can honestly say if you loved Final Girls or The last time I lied by Riley Sager then you will possibly love this one. I do think Riley’s is done way better, but it is good none the less. I do feel like some elements copy riley’s work.
Six Kids go camping and only five come back. Every time i even remotely thought i knew what was going on i was wrong. There were so many clues and leads you never were sure who to look at. Maybe I’m just stupid or completely clueless as I’ve seen other reviews saying they knew who it was in the first half.
Aurora had been camping/partying in the woods with her sister and some of her sisters friends when the next morning they awaken and can not find Aurora. They searched for weeks never being able to find anything or any leads. When a little girls finds her remains thirty years later. Detecitive Sheens is assigned as the lead investigator to find out what happened to Aurora.
I do admit the first half of the novel is okay. I found myself wanting to put the book down at times, but the second half picked up and quickly took off. I was so interested in some of the characters and what happened to aurora that I couldn’t put the book down. The Second half has a bunch of info dumping but it spaces it out to where it’s not so much at one time.
There are some major trigger warnings for rape in this book. It does get graphic at times and was hard for me to read, so if that is something that triggers you i would highly recommend skipping this novel. While it was graphic, it showed that the person you think is okay or may not hurt you may well be preying on you, even thirty years later when they are successful. For me it showed that a rapists can be anyone in your life, even though they seem happy or normal. It can be anyone.
The thing I loved most was the alternating timelines. You didn’t just see the present with Detective Sheens. It flips back and forth from him to Aurora at the camp that night. So as the investigation goes on you get to see flashbacks from her perspective and glimpses of what happened.
The reason i gave this 3.5 stars instead of 5 was the connections with the characters. Sheens had went to school with the but never interacted or socialized with them. I think it would have added more to the story if he had. There was no akward or wierd flashbacks to them as kids or even as adults.
Also why were the kids more interesting back then than now as adults? Did grief change them that much? I loved Aurora and Jojo, but the rest i just didn’t jive with, there was just nothing there for me. I found myself bored reading when they would come into scene.
Overall this was a 3.5 for me rounded to a 4. The writing was great and the overall story kept me interested and wanting to know what happened and who did it. I think some things could have been improved on like the present personalities of the five Adults and Sheens connection to them. I honestly will probably continue this series because it is good and entertaining.
* Thank you to netgalley for providing me with an e-arc. All opinions are 100% my own.