By: Jessica Treadway
Publisher: Grand Central
Publication Date: 12/6/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
A page-turner about the murder of a teenage girl, from the author of Lacy Eye.
On a cold December day in northern upstate New York, the body of high school senior Joy Enright is discovered in the woods at the edge of a pond. She had been presumed drowned, but an autopsy shows that she was, in fact, strangled.
As the investigation unfolds, four characters tell the story from widely divergent perspectives: Susanne, Joy's mother and a professor at the local art college; Martin, a black graduate student suspected of the murder; Harper, Joy's best friend and a potential eyewitness; and Tom, a rescue diver and son-in-law of the town's police chief. As a web of small-town secrets comes to light, a dramatic conclusion reveals the truth about Joy's death.
Buy the Book
A special thank you to Grand Central and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
From the author of Lacy Eye Jessica Treadway delivers her latest: HOW WILL I KNOW YOU, a haunting look at a family torn apart by dark secrets.
Joy, the budding artist. The girl everyone assumed drowned on Friday, the 13th of the previous month had in fact been murdered. The victim of a homicide: autopsy results showed she had actually, died of strangulation, after which the killer dumped her body in the woods.
What could have happened? Was someone following her, stalking, watching?
An intense mystery, we hear from four different characters with contrasting views, weaving back and forth in time.
• Susanne Enright: Joy's mother and a professor at the local art college
• Martin Willett: Black graduate student suspected of the murder- Suzanne's teaching assistant.
• Harper Grove: Joy's best friend and a potential eyewitness
• Tom: a rescue diver and son-in-law of the town's police chief
Instead of hidden under the surface, she had been right in plain sight the whole time, or what should have been plain sight. Sometimes what people were looking for was right in front of them, and they missing it because they were paying attention to something else.
Interim police chief Doug Armstrong was the arresting officer, determined to get a conviction with racial injustice. He had his own agenda.
Blackmail, drugs, secrets, guilt, betrayal, deception, fear, and lies. Love and loss. Dark small town secrets which threaten to destroy. Was Susanne ultimately responsible for her daughter’s death, even though she may not have been the one to strangle her? What about her father Gil’s financial failures? How does each person’s action play a part in this unraveling? What goes on behind closed doors?
Compelling! Jessica Treadway delivers a rich character driven psychological suspense, with a literary twist. A slow burning intense mystery, keeping your turning the pages of this complex domestic saga, while slowly unraveling everyone’s dirty secrets. The author cleverly conceals the murderer's identity and the motive, until the novel’s explosive conclusion.
I enjoyed After-The Last with the “Souls on Board” Art Exhibit which parallels to the characters in the novel. Separate experiences of the same story. Revealing crucial details not originally noticed, as with the characters. Each contains critical pieces of information.
“We’re all souls on board this flight. Nothing is too small to matter, and even when we think we have the whole picture, there is still more to see.”
Dec Must Reads
"Jessica Treadway draws her characters into an impossible knot and then expertly teases it apart. The question of what really happened to Joy kept me up half the night."―Ann Patchett, New York Times bestselling author of State of Wonder
"Sometimes a book pulls you in so deep that it's hard to let go. HOW WILL I KNOW YOU? is such a book. A mystery story, yes, but more than that, a compassionate, wise study of humans under pressure. I read furiously to find out the truth about the central crime, and I read slowly to savor Treadway's many stunning insights. A wondrous book!"―-Robin Black, author of Life Drawing and If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This
"An intricately plotted psychological thriller."―The Chicago Tribune, Praise for LACY EYE
"Deftly plotted... Treadway paints a devastating portrait of a family torn apart from both the outside and within."―Publishers Weekly, Praise for LACY EYE
"Since her debut story collection 'Absent Without Leave,' came out in 1992, Jessica Treadway has wowed critics with resonant depictions of flawed, all-too-human characters."―The Boston Globe, Praise for LACY EYE
About the Author
Jessica Treadway is a native of Albany, New York, currently living in Boston. She received her bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany before working as a news and feature reporter for United Press International. After studying for her master’s degree in the creative writing program at Boston University, she held a fellowship at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College and taught at Tufts University before joining the faculty at Emerson College, where she is a professor in the Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing.
Her story collection Please Come Back To Me received the Flannery O'Connor Award For Short Fiction and was published by the University of Georgia Press in 2010. Her other books are Absent Without Leave, a collection of stories (Delphinium Books/Simon & Schuster, 1992), and And Give You Peace, a novel (Graywolf Press, 2001). Her fiction has been published in The Atlantic, Ploughshares, The Hudson Review, Glimmer Train, AGNI, Five Points, and other journals, and has been cited multiple times in The Best American Short Stories annual anthology.
In addition to her fiction, Jessica has published essays and book reviews for publications including The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, Glamour, and The Huffington Post. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. A former member of the Board of Directors of PEN-New England, where she served as co-chair of the Freedom to Write Committee, she lives outside Boston with her husband, Philip Holland. Read More