Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hard Truths

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman

Where is Wendy White? The sweet girl's disappearance is being accepted as one of those unfortunate events that will never be solved. Obviously, an agent from the outside has infiltrated rural Haeden. Wendy was the target. These things happen. These things happen all of the time.

When Wendy's body is discovered five months later, complications surface for the residents of Haeden. New resident Stacy Flynn--an investigative reporter--is asking questions. It's bad enough that Flynn has been investigating the environmental impact of the town's dairy industry but now she is asking questions about the murder. Residents are not happy; denial is preferred.

Genius teen Alice Traut has lived in Haeden's comfortable confines most of her life. Her entanglement in the conflict begins when Flynn's writing catches her attention and prompts her to think. Thoughts about violence, women and murder make the circumstances of Wendy's murder impossible for Alice to ignore. Keenly realizing that Haeden is at a standstill with acknowledgement, Alice's world comes crashing down and a second crime intensifies Haeden's problems.

This is a horrifying but beautifully written read. Hoffman writes an intelligent, dark, suspense novel that provokes thoughts about big business, politics, and the place of women in society. The story is told from multiple points of view, a very strategic method for this tale as it adds confusion as well as a welcome relief from the gruesome detail and the story's disturbing reality. The story bothered me deeply....because these things do happen all of the time.

So Much Pretty is Hoffman's debut novel. I can't wait to read more!

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