Owen Foster has never wanted for anything. Then his mother shows up at his elite New Orleans boarding school cradling a bombshell: his privileged life has been funded by stolen money. After using the family business, the single largest employer in his small Louisiana town, to embezzle millions and drain the employees’ retirement accounts, Owen’s father vanished without a trace, leaving Owen and his mother to deal with the fallout.
Owen returns to Lake Cane to finish his senior year, where people he can barely remember despise him for his father’s crimes. It’s bad enough dealing with muttered insults and glares, but when Owen and his mother receive increasingly frightening threats from someone out for revenge, he knows he must get to the bottom of what really happened at Louisiana Frac–and the cryptic note his father sent him at his boarding school days before disappearing.
Owen’s only refuge is the sprawling, isolated pecan orchard he works at after school, owned by a man named Gus who has his own secrets–and in some ways seems to know Owen better than he knows himself. As Owen uncovers a terrible injustice that looms over the same Preacher Woods he’s claimed as his own, he must face a shocking truth about his own past–and write a better future.
After reading a couple of heavy sci-fi/fantasy books, I was in the mood for an intriguing mystery. I’d never read anything else by this author, but rest assured, I plan on correcting that.
I finished this book in less than two days (while I was supposed to be working on several other projects), but just couldn’t put it down. The dual narrative between Owen and Noah is done so well, and goes about revealing the layers of secrets at a perfect pace. A small town setting and and secluded pecan farm only add to the years-old secrets. With the shocking situation Owen and his mother find themselves in, being stripped of everything they own and having to endure horrible comments and treatment from both adults and teens affected by Owen’s father, it’s incredibly easy to relate to them. Rather than wallowing in self-pity over everything he’s lost, I admired Owen’s determination to better his situation, help his mother, and find his father.
Upon reaching the end of the book, I had several theories, but the twist came as a surprise. Warning: Whatever you do, don’t flip to the end of this novel and spoil it for yourself!
If you’re looking for an absolutely un-put-downable mystery with deliciously surprising twists, this is your book.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.