How Will I Know You?

Jessica Treadway. Grand Central, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4555-5411-9
At the start of Treadway’s predictable novel, less a mystery than a meditation on loss and betrayal, missing teen Joy Enright is found strangled to death at the edge of a frozen pond in upstate New York. The interim police chief is determined to convict Martin Willett, a black graduate student. Martin recently ended an affair with Joy’s white mother, Susanne, who was his teacher and was spotted near the scene when Joy vanished. Martin maintains his innocence, though, and Susanne is desperate to believe him, so she hires the chief’s son-in-law, Tom, to investigate. The book weaves back and forth in time, with Martin, Susanne, Tom, and Joy’s best friend, Harper, sharing the narrative. Treadway (Lacy Eye) explores the effect of Joy’s death on her family and their community, in addition to examining racism’s role in small-town justice. Unfortunately, while Susanne is a fully fleshed character whose guilt and grief are palpable, everyone else is a caricature, undercutting the plot’s heft and depth. Agent: Kimberly Witherspoon, Inkwell Management. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/24/2016
Release date: 12/06/2016
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4555-5410-2
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-4555-5409-6
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