With glowing reviews from Stephen King and Harlen Coben, this assured psychological thriller is up with the best of its kind. Steeped in small-town suffocating atmosphere, with dysfunctional families on every corner, the plot includes vivid descriptions of teenage sex, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse and self-harm. This disturbing, heady mixture is the background to the hunt for a murderer with a macabre killer's signature.
As I sipped my bourbon and cracked peanuts, I pondered the growing desperation the Nashes must have felt each time a child popped out without a penis. There was the first, Ashleigh, not a boy, but sweet and healthy. They'd always wanted two anyway. Ashleigh got a fancy name with extravagant spelling and a closet full of frosting-cake dresses. They crossed their fingers and tried again but still got Tiffanie. Now they were nervous, the welcome home less triumphant. When Mrs Nash got knocked up once again, her husband bought a tiny baseball glove to give the lump in her belly a nudge in the right direction. Imagine the righteous dismay when Ann arrived. She got slapped with some family name - didn't even get the extra e to ornament it a bit.