Fifteen years ago, Lilith Wade was arrested for the brutal murder of six women. After a death row conviction and media frenzy, her thirty-year-old daughter Edie is a recovering alcoholic with a dead-end city job, just trying to survive out of the spotlight.
Edie also has a disturbing secret: a growing obsession with the families of Lilith’s victims. She’s desperate to discover how they’ve managed–or failed–to move on, and whether they’ve fared better than her. She’s been careful to keep her distance, until the day one of them is found murdered and she quickly becomes the prime suspect. Edie remembers nothing of the night of the death, and must get to the truth before the police–or the real killer–find her.
A huge thank you to Titan Books for sending me a copy of this book for review and inviting me to take part in the blog tour! Go check out all the other bloggers taking part as well! I’ll also be sharing an extract from the book at the end of my review!
What I really liked about this book was the fresh perspective it brought to stories about serial killers. Normally the ones I read are either from the point of view of a detective or one of the victims who managers to survive in the end. Admittedly, I’ve never actually thought about what happened to the killer’s family in the aftermath as I’m too focused on the families of the victims. I can imagine they’d be shunned and treated as a criminal even though they were the innocent party. For me that’s what made In Her Bones such a unique and interesting story. I liked seeing how Edie and the rest of her family had coped fifteen years on from the murders.
I really liked how the story was told through multiple ways. We have past events from Edie’s childhood, the present day and then text taken from a published novel in the story that looks at Lilith’s childhood and what ultimately led her to become a serial killer. I found the interviews taken from the published novel the most interesting as it was people who’d known Lilith when she was a child and they were analysing what she’d been like, her behaviour, actions, etc. They were definitely some really interesting chapters but I felt really bad for Edie having to deal with her mother being a serial killer and then seeing someone making money off her pain. I don’t know how she remains to calm knowing this book is out there and sat on shelves. It would drive me mad!
The past events from Edie’s childhood were good as they gave us another glimpse into what Lilith was like as a mother. I found it really sad how she was mentally ill and couldn’t get the help she clearly needed. I sympathised with Edie’s dad as he really was the innocent party. He always wanted to do what was right by Edie and her brother but it always seemed to go wrong.
Unfortunately, even though In Her Bones had a fresh perspective and some really interesting chapters, I just couldn’t connect with Edie. I didn’t think she was a very likeable character and she definitely doesn’t help herself at all. I found it really creepy how she kept tabs on the families of the victims and documented what they were doing. She also added them on social media and stalked their profiles which is seriously creepy. I’m not surprised she was number one suspect when one of them is murdered, I’d point the finger at her as well. But I can’t argue the fact that she is a really intelligent and resourceful character. She definitely deserves a much better job and its sad how her mother’s actions torpedoed her daughter’s career.
As for the pacing of the story, it was quite slow and once the murder happens, everything just grinds to a halt. Edie ends up doing the same actions for a massive chunk of the story and that involves searching for clues on her laptop and hiding from the police. I ended up just skimming most of it until I got to the ending for the big reveal. That did not disappoint, I didn’t see it coming and was left very surprised. Overall this is a very enjoyable book and has some great twists planted throughout.
Sometimes I see Brandt on my commute. Gil Brandt, the detective who arrested Lilith. The man who gave me a second, third, and fourth chance. It’s complicated, but probably not in the way you think. Or maybe exactly in the way you’d think.
Today, there’s no Brandt. Just the orange stacked seats of SEPTA, the blank, dreary faces on a Monday morning, the vaguely warm odor, like the inside of a public dryer: a little wet, a little musty. The man next to me huddles into the window, a paperback folded into his hands, his cracked lips moving to the words, even as his eyes dart up and out the window, down the metal floor, gummed with black. The seats are full, and the aisles are crowded but not packed, the faint fug of an armpit over my shoulder. I’ve taken the El every day for five years, early mornings, late nights, the train punctuating the days and giving me a structure and definition that keeps me forward-looking, which hasn’t always been my strong suit.
Two rows above, a blonde turns, her hair falling into her eyes, her fingers scraping the metal pole by her seat, and her eyes resting on me, only for a second, but long enough to feel their zing. Lindy Cook. Couldn’t have been more than twenty, her mother taken by Lilith’s rage when she was a child, maybe even a toddler. Lindy, so small when she lost her mother, a toddling, swollen towhead with a red sucker and pink-ringed mouth in all the court pictures, was now a lithe, lanky dancer, an apprentice at the Pennsylvania Ballet. That was all I knew. I search my brain, my memory for something—any detail about her life—and come up blank.
And now she was here. Here! My train. Why? She’d never been on this train before, and I took the El every day. The brakes squeal at 13th Street, the forward momentum pushing me into the pole in front of me, sending the arm over my shoulder bumping against my head. I stand and Lindy stands, and across the train we make eye contact again, her face blank as a stone. My heart thunders, my ears so filled with it that I barely hear the loudspeaker garbling nonsense. We head for the same door and I hang back, watching her step onto the platform. She tosses her hair, and I catch the smell of damp jasmine. She keeps her head low, only to look back just once (was it nervously?) at me.
Up at street level, she heads north on 13th Street, my direction, and I wonder once, crazily, if she’s coming to work with me. If she’s looking for me, if she’s found out about me, who I am and what I do, some kind of sideways revenge scheme for taking her mother, which is, of course, no more sideways than what I do to them. I follow her for two blocks, blocks I would be walking anyway, but I stay a good five people behind her, the bobbing heads of bankers and jurors, lawyers and judges, bopping headphoned dudes appearing in court to fight parking tickets, clerks at Macy’s, and cubicle swampers from the Comcast building. Lindy’s head isn’t hard to follow, the blond shining like the sun against the gray.
She passes my building and I nearly jump out of my skin, thinking she’s going to turn left onto Filbert and I’ll be forced to follow behind her, wanded through by security. But she passes right by, picking up speed, her long legs moving her faster than I can keep up. She stops at an intersection, picks up a paper and a hot Styrofoam cup at a street vendor, offering him a smiling hello and a laugh. The kind of exchange that evolved organically, after an established routine. She darts across Broad Street, six lanes of traffic, and disappears inside the Pennsylvania Ballet studio building. Before pushing through the revolving door, she glances back at me once with a questioning look, her head cocked to the side. I stand on the street, frozen, watching her recognize me as the girl from the train, and now, oddly, the girl who followed her here to the place where she thought was she safe.