cover image See How Small

See How Small

Scott Blackwood. Little, Brown, $25 (224p) ISBN 978-0-316-37380-7

Whiting Writers’ Award–winner Blackwood (We Agreed to Meet Just Here) has produced a genre-defying novel of powerful emotion, intrigue, and truth. From the opening pages, which artfully skirt from past to present, it’s clear that an atrocity has befallen Elizabeth, Zadie, and Meredith, the three teenage girls staffing the front counter at Sandra’s ice cream shop. Killers assault the girls, bind them, and set the building on fire. The merciless crime’s aftermath, affecting everyone in the Texas town—including devastated, revenge-consumed mother Kate, town firefighter Jack, and the arsonists themselves—forms the core of the story as each character’s life is detailed through the 60 brief, vividly realized chapters. As anniversaries of the murders pass, Blackwood resurrects the three young women on a ghostly plane. They populate Kate’s dreams, hang around town, and appear to the eccentric Hollis Finger, who may hold the key to solving the crime. Reminiscent of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones and based on a similar, still-unsolved 1991 case in Austin, Tex., Blackwood explores the effects of senseless crime on an innocent, tightly knit community, using deft prose to mine the essence of human grief and compassion. [em](Jan.) [/em]