A debut novel by award-winning author Holly Goddard Jones, about the people surprisingly connected to the discovery of a dead woman’s body in a small town.
Thirteen-year-old Emily Houchens doesn't have many friends. She finds more comfort playing make-believe in the woods near her house in Roma, Kentucky, than with her classmates, who find her strange and awkward. When she happens upon a dead body hidden in the woods one day, she decides not to tell anyone about her discovery—a choice that begins to haunt her.
Susanna Mitchell has always been a good girl, the dutiful daughter and wife. While her older sister Ronnie trolled bars for men and often drove home at sunrise, Susanna kept a neat house, a respectable job, and a young daughter. But when Ronnie goes missing and Susanna realizes that she’s the only person in Roma who truly cares about her sister’s fate, she starts to question her quiet life and its value.
The Next Time You See Me is the story of how one woman’s disappearance exposes the ambitions, prejudices, and anxieties of a small southern town and its residents, who are all connected, sometimes in unexpected ways: Emily; Susanna; Tony, a failed baseball star turned detective, aspiring to be the county’s first black sheriff; and Wyatt, a 55-year-old factory worker tormented by a past he can’t change and by a love he doesn’t think he deserves. Their stories converge in a violent climax that reveals not just the mystery of what happened to Ronnie but all of their secret selves.
©2013 Holly Goddard Jones (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc
"The residents of a small Kentucky town react to the disappearance of a local woman in this first novel by short-story writer Jones…. [The author] builds intense tension surrounding the choices her flawed but compellingly sympathetic characters make as they fight against lonely isolation within the tight confines of small-town America." (Kirkus Reviews)
This is a very slow listen/read. The story moves very slowly toward the end, which was not all together satisfying. Things you should know: the narrator takes her time with every syllable and sentence. That might not be so bad if the story development moved at a faster pace, which it does not.
This is also not a book where there are happy characters - not one character is happy, and there are really no life-lessons learned to grow from. It's a mystery at it's core, which comes together through the many different people in the town who touch it, yet the human connections are not deep or satisfying in any way.
I recognize that all of my critiques boil down to personal preference - I am ok with slow-building stories if they lead to something remarkable - however this one does not. I am ok with flawed, sad characters if there is something for me to learn from hearing their stories - and here, there was not.
Yes, the characters were less than stellar people but the author did an amazing job of making you want to learn more about the cast.
Ironically the killer is the one character I liked. He had more depth than the others.
The scene at the end with the brother finding the dog. It was the silver lining in a grey book.
yes- I laughed and cried.
Ugh. What a waste of time. Too many chapters spent setting up the plot of a small town murder. Wasted time waiting for the climax, never happened.
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