It’s not often I’d put “emotional” and “thriller” in the same sentence, but this is the best way to sum up this incredibly well-written, well-plotted story.
The narrative follows 13-year-old Duchess Day Radley, a fierce, self-proclaimed “outlaw” and a girl who’s had to grow up too soon, caring for both her little brother and her volatile mother, Star. We also follow Walk’s story—the chief of police of their small town who’s wrestling with past demons and a very-present illness. As one of Star’s closest friends, his protectiveness of Duchess and her brother overrides everything else. But he’s never forgiven himself for what happened 30 years ago, when his testimony sent his best friend, Vincent, to prison.
Now Vincent is getting released—and for Duchess and Walk, the trouble that comes with his return begins to snowball.
I’m not sure what made me turn pages more: the characters themselves, the actual prose—not one word wasted—or the mystery at the heart of this book. Overarching all of these is the story’s ‘emotional punch’; I definitely teared up more than once. Whitaker knows how to make readers feel, that’s for sure. One of the best books I’ve read this year.