Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Little Threats by Emily Schultz

Little Threats
by Emily Schultz
Published November 10th 2020 by G.P. Putnam's Sons

Both a taut whodunit and a haunting snapshot of the effects of a violent crime, Little Threats tells the story of a woman who served fifteen years in prison for murder...and now it's time to find out if she's guilty.

In the summer of 1993, twin sisters Kennedy and Carter Wynn are embracing the grunge era and testing every limit in their privileged Richmond suburb. But Kennedy's teenage rebellion goes too far when, after a night of partying in the woods, her best friend, Haley, is murdered, and suspicion quickly falls upon Kennedy. She can't remember anything about the night in question, and this, along with the damning testimony from a college boy who both Kennedy and Haley loved, is enough to force Kennedy to enter a guilty plea.

In 2008, Kennedy is released into a world that has moved on without her. Carter has grown distant as she questions Kennedy's innocence, and begins a relationship with someone who could drive the sisters apart forever. The twins' father, Gerry, is eager to protect the family's secrets and fragile bonds. But Kennedy's return brings the tragedy back to the surface, along with a whole new wave of media. When a crime show host comes to town asking questions, believing the murder wasn't wasn't as simple as it seemed, murky memories of Haley's death come to light. As new suspects emerge and the suburban woods finally give up their secrets, two families may be destroyed again. 

3.5 Stars

Kennedy's best friend is murdered in 1993 and she's spent the last fifteen years in prison paying for a crime she doesn't remember committing. Now, in 2008, she's returning home, to the town that hasn't forgotten, to a father who wants his children to be around again, and to a crime show host who believes there's more to the story. The world's moved forward, Kennedy is behind the times, but she's ready to let her life begin again. Except, memories are returning and she's beginning to wonder if she really did it.

Talk about a rough go of things, Kennedy's just spent 15 years in prison and upon her release even her own twin suddenly begins acting as though she did it. You expect some media and attention, but Kennedy's delivered to a home that hasn't changed since she left it as a teen, a father who is overly concerned about perfection, and a sister with a secret. I loved the interactions with the crime show team, but it took a long time to get there. First, we're treated to flashbacks, varying perspectives, romantic entanglements, and an awful lot of family drama. Kennedy and her twin, Carter, may have kept up while she was away in prison, but her return home brings back a lot of the past, and not just the part about her best friend being dead. There's exes, old friends, and an awful lot of 90's memories to sift through.

Little Threats is very slow, there's more, I guess, story than mystery. It doesn't have the thrills I typically like in my reads and, in this case, the twists that were meant to be surprising were expected. That's not to say it was poorly written, quite the opposite, it just wasn't as gripping as I'd like. That may be, however, due to the fact that crime show themed novels are all the rage right now and it does feel a bit like if you've read one you've read them all. If you've not read one yet or you're looking for a slower-paced novel full of grunge nostalgia, then Little Threats will work for you and I do recommend it.

While I think there's improvements to be made here, Little Threats is another good novel in the crime show genre. It's more of a contemporary drama novel than a crime read, but if you're looking for less mystery and more interpersonal relationship then this just might be it for you.

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