Gone to Ground, by Brandilyn Collins (B&H Publishing Group, 2012)
Amaryllis, Mississippi, is like any other small town. Except for the serial killer.
Gone to Ground opens with an excerpt from the (fictional) Pulitzer-prize-winning article on the first five killings, by local-born journalist Trent Williams. Portions of the article appear throughout the novel to give readers more background.
When a sixth victim is found, three Amaryllis women know who killed her. They each have evidence. They’re each afraid to go to the police. And each one would name a different man.
Brandilyn Collins gives us three vibrant, believable characters: Cherrie Mae is a widow who cleans houses, and she’s getting up in years; Tully is barely 20 and pregnant, with an abusive husband; Deena operates a hairdressing salon and used to be married to one of Amaryllis’ police officers.
The three women take turns telling the story, each one in first person. That doesn’t usually work for me but it does in this story because each of the three has a distinct voice.
Chapter headers tell us who’s sharing this part of the narrative, but I always knew even if I forgot to look. Cherrie Mae, Tully and Deena have similar southern accents, but they’re each so focused on what they know (or fear they know) that it’s easy to tell who’s talking by what they’re talking (and thinking) about.
One thing they agree on: the police chief may be more interested in making an arrest than in getting the right man. Unless they can solve the mystery and present proof he can’t ignore.
Best-selling suspense author Brandilyn Collins is one of my favourites in the genre, and I look forward to each new release. Gone to Ground is a satisfying read with a well-crafted plot and appealing characters. I especially liked Cherrie Mae.
Visit Brandilyn Collins’ website to view a trailer for the novel and read an excerpt.