The Prized Girl of Amy K. Green’s title just wanted to know what it would be like to shed her beauty queen image and be a normal eighth-grade student. She never got the chance.
As this debut mystery opens, Jenny is already dead — raped, stabbed and discarded in the woods not far from her family home in a small New England town. Police promptly arrest a simple-minded, middle-age man who had been obsessed with the girl. To Virginia, Jenny’s alcohol-addicted, 20-something half-sister, the police investigation looks superficial, the suspect too convenient. So she worms her way into the case.
The characters — especially the two sisters, their parents, Jenny’s boyfriend and the detective — are complex and well-drawn. And Virginia’s relentless search for the real killer is filled with intriguing flashbacks, stunning twists and a shocking ending.
For the full text of my Associated Press review, please click here.