A feature writer for the Jackson Bugle, Trent Williams, has won a Pulitzer for his coverage of the murders.
Three women living in Amaryllis are all affected in one way or another by the killings, and Gone to Ground: A Novel is told in their alternating narrative voices. They are Cherrie Mae, Deena, and Tully.
How is each woman somehow connected to what is unfolding in their little town, a town where people are friendly, and where, on the surface, Amaryllis seems much like the flower for which it is named—a flower that, unfortunately, is poisonous?
As the women eventually get together and share bits and pieces of the puzzle known to them, the reader begins to figure out what really happened. But there are twists and turns none of them saw coming, and in the end, they were all stunned by the big reveal.
I liked how the poisonous flower came to represent the tone of the town and its gossips. In this excerpt, a gardener is describing the process of weeding the flower and the reasons why:
"`The bulbs like to have a bit of their tops exposed,' he says in his heavy Southern drawl. `Leave `em alone too many years, and you'll find `em sunk too low, hidin'. You could say they've gone to ground.' He makes a sound deep in his throat as he ponders his choice of words. `Sort of like that killer we can't find.'"
The story captured my interest from the very first page and I was riveted until the very end, wondering what surprises would be waiting for me within the pages. Five stars.