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Dahlia's Gone

Katie Estill, Author
Katie Estill, Author . St. Martin's $23.95 (239p) ISBN 978-0-312-35835-8
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The murder of a teenage girl, Dahlia Everston, profoundly affects three middle-aged women in Estill's poignant second novel (after Evening Would Find Me ) set in what appears to be the Missouri Ozarks. Norah Everston, Dahlia's fundamentalist stepmother, can't bring herself to believe that her teenage son, Timothy, may know more than he's telling about Dahlia's brutal stabbing death. Sand Williams, a former World Health Organization reporter and Norah's nearest neighbor, who was supposed to check up on Dahlia and Tim while Norah and her husband were away, feels terrible guilt. Deputy sheriff Patti Callahan, who's the first official to visit the crime scene and has made a career of defending the abused women of her Ozark community, vows to see justice done. Simply told, without cliffhangers or sensational revelations, the story focuses on Norah, Sand and Patti as each adapts to the emotional landscape in the aftermath of an outrage that will leave them forever changed. (Jan.)

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