Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This could have been such a good book, but the author appeared to pull a few punches with the plot.
On the 10th anniversary of Chloe's suicide (in a Romeo/Juliet pact with her "unsuitable" boyfriend, Carl) the town is dedicating a "Wendy house" in her honor - only the ceremony is interrupted by the discovery of a body right where the structure is supposed to go. Whose body? Lola is sure she knows that it's the body of Dennis Wilson, a man with Down's Syndrome who went missing a few months before Chloe's death.
The story of the friendship between Chloe (a mean girl at heart), Lola and Emma is one that would have benefited from more detail. What we get most is Lola feeling that Emma is worming her way in between Chloe and Lola, but the only reason we have for Lola wanting to be Chloe's friend is that Chloe stopped Lola's being teased/bullied in school. Emma is even more a cipher, with nothing really to suggest why she might have been invited into their circle. With the addition of Carl it becomes even less clear why Lola would want to be part of any of this. Granted, not everything is clear at 14 but still, this was just a bit of a mess.
We're told everything in two timelines, one "back then" and one now, watching the dedication/finding of the body on tv. It becomes clear that there are secrets that Lola (now Laura) and Emma are still keeping, so there's an unreliable narrator for readers to figure out. It's also very unclear why Terry, the pink-shirted tv reporter, retires (if he does) or why he's not getting any accurate information about this new body or what happened with Chloe. And that no one raised questions about Chloe/Carl, particularly after her hospitalization and in light of the age difference? Just doesn't make sense.
ARC provided by publisher.