"What possessed you to get a tattoo?"
"Someone dared me."
"No one you know."
This early scene in the latest novel from Michelle Richmond lends itself to the title of the book, a gripping, emotional, and surprising drama.
For 20 years, Ellie Enderlin has been living in the aftermath of the brutal murder of her older sister, a math genius. Shortly after the incident, Ellie's college professor and close friend pens a best-selling account of the crime, naming his own opinion of the most likely killer, a supposition that everyone takes at face value.
Years later, Ellie runs into the man accused of the crime on a coffee-buying trip to Nicaragua, where he has long since taken refuge from the book's publicity. They talk at length, leaving her with the distinct impression that he was not her sister's killer. The chance encounter opens up the investigation in her mind, and she embarks on a mission to find out what really happened that fateful night.
The one stumbling block for me during the book was the strong math element, presented in theorems, which, while integral into getting inside her sister's head, are riddles for those of us not so mathematically inclined. I found myself reading them over and over again, trying to make them make sense to me. However, their inclusion lends credibility to the work and adds to character development, so they do serve a purpose.
Even though it sounds like a mystery, I wouldn't necessarily classify it that way...or at least not exclusively. More than the murder, this book is about the relationship between two sisters...what existed, and what could have been.
It particularly hit home for me, from the sister angle. As in the book, my sister is my only sibling, and it made me think about the aftermath of this type of tragedy. How would it change the dynamics of a family? The relationship between the surviving daughter and her parents? What would it be like to always wonder what your sister would have become, given more time?
All in all, I highly recommend this for your TBR pile.