Prather’s Pick: A novel about haunting memories
A couple of days ago, after I’d finished a pile of paperwork, I took the novel “Someone Knows” by Lisa Scottoline (a 2019 domestic thriller) from my bag of library books. I thought I would read for an hour or so and then finish the book during breaks between chores. I didn’t intend to, but I finished the novel that very night. It is fast-reading and one of those “you-have-to-keep-turning-the pages” books. After I finished the book so quickly, I was sorry that I didn’t take more time to savor it.
The prologue to the book “hooks” the reader because it provides just enough information about an incident of 20 years ago in which some teenagers were involved in a game of Russian Roulette. It was a supposed prank but someone blew someone’s brains out. The teenagers ran off, keeping the incident a secret for twenty years. However, the narrator of the prank, and possibly the other teens, never forgot the horror. It has been haunting.
The novel begins as Allie Garvey is driving to Chester County, Pennsylvania where she grew up. She’s on her way to a funeral. David Hybrinski has died, a victim of a suicide. Allie thinks she knows the “why.” Now the novel shifts to “Twenty Years Earlier.”
David was one of the teenagers involved in the deadly prank all those years ago. So was Allie. The two others are at the funeral, too — Julian Browne and Sasha Barrow.
The teens all lived at Brandywine Hunt, a development area built by Browne Land Management, owned by Julian’s father. Many of the residents were wealthy. David, Julian, and Sasha were all members of the “cool” crowd. Allie wasn’t. She met them one day when she was practicing for tryouts for a cross-country team. That’s when Julian found the gun buried under a tree. It wasn’t loaded. The teens admired the gun and then reburied it.
A few days later the teens decided to use the gun to play a prank. The victim was Kyle Gallagher who had moved to the development two months earlier. His father, a pediatrician, was serving time in prison for several charges, including sexual abuse.
The night of the prank, all of the teens, including Allie, had been drinking. It was Allie’s first time drinking, first time kissing, first time thinking she was in love. None of the teens knew there was a bullet in the gun. During the Russian Roulette game, Kyle blew his brains out. The kids ran off, leaving law enforcement to believe Kyle committed suicide. None of them spoke of the incident — ever — and, in fact, didn’t associate with one another. Nobody knew how the bullet got in the gun.
The teens all have different backgrounds, all part of the book’s plot. Allie, for example, lost a teenage sister to cystic fibrosis. Her father is an orthodontist, and after her sister died, Allie’s mother went over the edge.
The novel shifts back to “Twenty Years Later,” starting with David’s funeral. Several twists are woven into the plot. If you like thrillers, this book is a “must-read.”
“Someone Knows” is one of Scottoline’s 32 novels. She is an Edgar Award-winning author.
This week’s book costs $27 in hardcover. You can find it with new books at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries.