The next time you see me by Holly Goddard Jones

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Corvus, 2013. ISBN 9781782390831.
(Age: Older teens) When 13 year old misfit Emily Houchens finds a body in the woods on one of her solitary walks after being bullied at school, she decides to keep the information to herself, making repeated visits observing the decay in the manner of a scientific experiment. It soon becomes apparent that the body is that of the schoolteacher Susannah's wild sister Ronnie who goes missing after a night out and it is fairly obvious early on who might have been responsible. The real matter of the novel is an intense scrutiny of the lives and psychological motivation of those drawn together by the crime in this small, depressed, southern town. All of the many character seem to be lonely and unfulfilled, and there is a lot of cruelty and prejudice. What is interesting from an Australian point of view is the glimpse into this small Kentucky town, its obsession with college sport and body image and the legacy of racism and prohibition. This is the first novel for Holly Goddard Jones, she previously published some short stories and this really works better on that level, more of a documentary than a thriller. Although one of the central characters is thirteen this is really only suitable for older readers.
Sue Speck