In the interests of full disclosure, let me first state that I’m a HUGE fan of Crime Junkie, Ashley Flowers’ award-winning true crime podcast. She’s got a knack of telling you about a crime in such a way that you feel right at the centre of it. I went into this book knowing that she’s an amazing storyteller and that she’d include lots of totally believable details in this, her first novel. Whilst I’m already a fan of her other work, I had no idea what to expect from Flowers’ first foray into writing fiction. My conclusion… damn, she’s good at this too!
We begin in 1994. Kristy Jacobs tries her best to fit into the tightknit, judgemental community of her Indiana town. She goes to church every Sunday, dresses her family in line with the town’s expectations, and keeps her house in pristine condition. But none of this protects her from every mother’s worst fear – in the middle of the night, her house is broken into and her six-year-old daughter, January, becomes a victim.
Twenty years later, Margot has returned to her home town to look after her uncle. A childhood friend and neighbour of January Jacobs, she is still haunted by the crime. On the day of her return, another girl – five-year-old Natalie Clark – is abducted from a playground in a nearby town. Old wounds are opened and Margot, a journalist, finds herself right in the middle of this modern case with disturbing links to the past.
Ashley Flowers knows the kind of details that keep people’s attention in cases like this one, and provides us with them in bucketfulls: multiple victims, crimes spanning decades, family secrets and a small-town full of gossip and speculation are just the start of it, and this novel keeps delivering the twists all the way to the end.
I could clearly hear Flowers’ voice narrating this tale as I read and followers of her podcast will enjoy the way that she writes as she speaks. There’s nothing forced here, and she’s a master storyteller and writer of crime.
I very much hope that Ashley Flowers will write many more novels like ‘All Good People Here’ – there’s certainly space in the market for a whole series with Margot as the central character, and I’d love to read more.
Thank you to Netgalley, Ashley Flowers and Harper Collins UK for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.