The Savage Kind: Book One of the Nightingale Trilogy

John Copenhaver. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-64313-809-1
Set in late-1940s Washington, D.C., this tumultuous trilogy opener from Copenhaver (Dodging and Burning) sees polite Philippa Watson and fiery outcast Judy Peabody forge a friendship with encouragement from audacious English teacher Christine Martins, whom the teens idolize. When Philippa visits Miss Martins’s apartment to return a book and finds the teacher entangled with a half-dressed man, she flees, embarrassed and uncertain whether she witnessed an attack. Judy dismisses Philippa’s concerns as prudish, but the next day, Miss Martins resigns. Shortly thereafter, picnickers discover the corpse of Cleveland Closs, a surly student with whom Miss Martins clashed. Similarities to the unsolved murder of Judy’s adoptive parents’ nine-year-old biological daughter prompt the police to focus on their previous prime suspect, but Philippa and Judy think something else is afoot and investigate. Copenhaver’s tale unfolds via breathless diary entries from both girls, purportedly strung together by an anonymous narrator in 1963. A profusion of devastating twists complements the pulp-noir tone and keeps readers on tenterhooks, and a tentative romance between Judy and Philippa adds depth. Megan Abbott fans, take note. Agent: Annie Bomke, Annie Bomke Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/23/2021
Release date: 10/01/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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