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Publisher's Summary

In this brilliantly modern novel of love, obsession, and revenge, a professor pieces together the life and mysterious death of a former student - and unearths a shocking revelation about her final days.

On a snowy February morning, the body of 25-year-old journalist Alice Salmon washes up on a riverbank south of London. The sudden, shocking death of this beloved local girl becomes a media sensation, and those who knew her struggle to understand what happened to lively, smart, and savvy Alice Salmon. Was it suicide? A tragic accident? Or...murder?

Professor Jeremy Cooke, known around campus as Old Cookie, is an anthropologist nearing the end of his unremarkable academic career. Alice is his former student and the object of his unhealthy obsession. After her death he embarks on a final project - a book documenting Alice's life through the digital and paper trails that survive her: her diaries, letters, Facebook posts, tweets, and text messages. He collects news articles by and about her; he transcribes old voicemails; he interviews her friends, family, and boyfriends.

Bit by bit the real Alice - a complicated and vulnerable young woman - springs fully formed from the pages of Cookie's book...along with a labyrinth of misunderstandings, lies, and secrets that cast suspicion on everyone in her circle - including Jeremy himself.

©2016 The Operative Word Limited (P)2016 Simon & Schuster

What members say

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Aperio
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • 03-22-16

Oh boo...

Pros: The narrators were wonderful! An absolute 5 star performance by all!

Cons: The story! Ugh! I wanted to love this book and oh how I tried. However, it just felt far too creepy, far too invasive, and the repulsion I felt for the professor was overwhelming. Maybe that was the intended point of the author-- to be uncomfortable-- to demonstrate how social media can haunt a person and their loved ones through death. He succeeded there. None the less, it was a hard book to get through. The characters were at once tragic and vapid and it was hard to connect to any of them on any kind of emotional level.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Tedious to get through

This book would have been better if it was shorter. I liked the premise of the story but could not get into it until the last two hours when things started to pick up.