What the blurb says: “LA IT girl Janie Jenkins has it all. The looks, the brains, the connections. The criminal record.
Ten years ago, in a trial that transfixed America, Janie was convicted of murdering her mother. Now she’s been released on a technicality she’s determined to unravel the mystery of her mother’s last words, words that send her to a tiny town in the very back of beyond. But with the whole of America’s media on her tail, convinced she’s literally got away with murder, she has to do everything she can to throw her pursuers off the scent.
She knows she really didn’t like her mother. Could she have killed her?”
Published last month, there’s been a lot of buzz around this book and when I opened it up and started reading I could totally understand why. Told from the point of view of Jane “Janie” Jenkins you follow the IT girl turned criminal as she searches to find the truth about her mother’s murder – did she do it? If she didn’t, who did and why?
It’s an action-packed, cross-country race of a read with plenty of twists and turns as Janie follows the few clues she has to the secrets in her mother’s past – the family Janie’s never met, the childhood her mother never spoke about – hunting out anyone who can help her find out what links her glamorous, wealthy mother to a small town out in the middle of nowhere.
But it’s not easy with the media, and an especially determined blogger, out to find her. So Janie goes undercover, transforming her super bitchy, razor sharp-witted, hair to die for self into a more wallflower-esq alter ego. And it works, for a while. But as she digs deeper, and starts to uncover the secrets hidden for so long by her mother, and those of other members of the close-knit community, her true identity – and the danger that brings – is discovered.
This is a fabulous read. Janie is a real love-to-hate protagonist – smart and resourceful, and I loved riding along with her on the hunt for the truth, but couldn’t help gasping aloud at some of her more bitchy observations [no spoilers – you have to read the book to see what I mean!]. Noah, her long-suffering lawyer is a sweetheart, and the wonderfully larger than life characters in the small town Janie ends up in are brilliantly drawn.
Mystery, suspense, a non-stop pace and a wonderfully quirky, strong female narrator – this book has them all. I read it in a single weekend.
[with many thanks to Harvill Secker for my copy of Dear Daughter]