So Much Pretty
When she disappeared from her rural hometown, Wendy White was a sweet, family-oriented girl, a late bloomer whod recently moved out on her own, with her first real boyfriend and a job waiting tables at the local tavern. It happens all the timea woman goes missing, a family mourns, and the case remains unsolved. Stacy Flynn is a reporter looking for her big break. She moved east from Cleveland, a city known for its violent crime, but thats the last thing she expected to cover in Haeden. This small, upstate New York town counts a dairy farm as its main employer and is home to families whove set down roots and never leftpeople who dont take kindly to outsiders. Flynn is researching the environmental impact of the dairy, and the way money flows outward like the chemical runoff, eventually poisoning those who live at the edges of its reach. Five months after she disappeared, Wendys body is found in a ditch just off one of Haedens main roads. Suddenly, Flynn has a big story, but no one wants to talk to her. No one seems to think that Wendys killer could still be among them. A drifter, they say. Someone not from here. Fifteen-year-old Alice Piper is an imaginative student with a genius IQ and strong ideals. The precocious, confident girl has stood out in Haeden since the day her eccentric hippie parents moved there from New York City, seeking a better life for their only child. When Alice reads Flynns passionate article in the Haeden Free Press about violence against womenabout the staggering number of women who are killed each day by people they knowshe begins to connect the dots of Wendys disappearance and death, leading her to make a choice: join the rest in turning a blind eye, or risk getting involved. As Flynn and Alice separately observe the locals failure to acknowledge a murderer in their midst, Alices fate is forever entwined with Wendys when a second crime rocks the town to its core. Stylishly written, closely observed, and bracingly unexpected, So Much Pretty leads the reader into the treacherous psychology of denial, where the details of an event are already known, deeply and intuitively felt, but not yet admitted to, reconciled or revealed.
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