cover image We Are All the Same in the Dark

We Are All the Same in the Dark

Julia Heaberlin. Ballantine, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-525-62167-6

The disappearance of popular 19-year-old cheerleader Trumanell Branson and her violent father, Frank, still haunts Odette Tucker, a West Texas town’s youngest deputy, 10 years later in this exceptional thriller from Heaberlin (Black-Eyed Susans). Trumanell’s bloody handprint on her home’s door was the only clue; her brother, Wyatt, now the town pariah and vilified in a TV documentary, is still the chief suspect. Odette visits Wyatt’s remote farmhouse after hearing rumors that he has kidnapped a teenage girl. Wyatt claims he found the girl, whom he calls Angel, dumped in a field. Odette, who lost a leg in a traumatic accident, instantly bonds with Angel, who lost an eye while suffering violent abuse. Odette strives to help Angel, who at first refuses to talk, as she tries to unravel the mystery of what happened to Trumanell, whose reputation remains that of a near saint. After a devastating twist halfway through, the intense plot builds to an emotional finale. Heaberlin sensitively addresses issues of survival and vulnerability in this heart-wrenching gothic tale. Agent: Kim Witherspoon at Inkwell Management. (Aug.)