I was lucky enough to be sent a proof copy of We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin by Penguin and it has sat on shelf for a while. I wasn’t sure what to read the other day as nothing was jumping out (I know! Sounds ridiculous when there are so many books on my shelves), so I picked it up and could not put it down. Protagonist Odette Tucker has a prosthetic leg so it ticks off another prompt.
What it’s about?
The discovery of a girl abandoned by the side of the road threatens to unearth the long-buried secrets of a Texas town’s legendary cold case in this superb, atmospheric novel from the internationally bestselling author of Black-Eyed Susans.
It’s been a decade since Trumanell Branson disappeared, leaving only a bloody handprint behind. Her pretty face still hangs like a watchful queen on the posters on the walls of the town’s Baptist church, the police station, and in the high school. They all promise the same thing: We will find you. Meanwhile, her brother, Wyatt, lives as a pariah in the desolation of the old family house, cleared of wrongdoing by the police but tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion and in a new documentary about the crime.
When Wyatt finds a lost girl dumped in a field of dandelions, making silent wishes, he believes she is a sign. The town’s youngest cop, Odette Tucker, believes she is a catalyst that will ignite a seething town still waiting for its own missing girl to come home. But Odette can’t look away. She shares a wound that won’t close with the mute, one-eyed mystery girl. And she is haunted by her own history with the missing Tru.
Desperate to solve both cases, Odette fights to save the lost girl in the present and to dig up the shocking truth about a fateful night in the past–the night her friend disappeared, the night that inspired her to become a cop, the night that wrote them all a role in the town’s dark, violent mythology.
In this twisty psychological thriller, Julia Heaberlin paints unforgettable portraits of a woman and a girl who redefine perceptions of physical beauty and strength.
What I think:
This was such an engrossing read. I literally could not put it down and stayed up late into the night reading it.
This has the feeling of a true crime documentary series to some of it as it is framed with interviews adding to the realism. It’s also creepy and mysterious in a Twin Peaksy way as the mysteries and secrets of the town are all that defines it.
The disappearance of beautiful Homecoming Queen, Trumanell Branson was 10 years ago, but interest in the case has been reignited due to a recent television documentary that pointed the finger at her brother Wyatt. Also tied into the mystery is Odette Tucker, daughter of a police officer who investigated the original case.
Now a police officer herself, and Wyatt’s former girlfriend, Odette is obsessed with solving the mystery of the Branson disappearances.
When a young girl turns up in a field encircled by dandelions Odette is convinced that ‘Angel’ is somehow connected and the legacy if the town’s lost girls continues.
This is a slow burner. It’s dark and atmospheric and for a while I could see how anything was going to be resolved as Odette faced so many dead ends. There is such an unsettling feeling to the town. Odette is convinced people are lying and is never sure who she can believe or even trust, including her own colleagues.
I loved this read. The writing is beautiful and the characters are all well developed and complex I could picture some of the settings, particularly Odette’s home, the Blue House, so clearly.
This was a five star read for me.