Follow Me Down

Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) has said having a happy home life is probably why she can explore such dark places in her novels. After reading Sherri Smith's twisted Follow Me Down, one might think Smith's home life is full of joy, too.

Mia Haas gets a call from the police chief of her North Dakota hometown, asking if she's heard from her twin brother, Lucas; he's suspected of murdering one of his high school students and has disappeared. Reeling, Mia rushes home from Chicago to look for him.

From childhood, Lucas had been beloved by everyone in Wayoata, but Mia finds the town has developed a lynch-mob mentality against him, demanding his arrest without any evidence. But there's plenty of vicious gossip, labeling him murderer and rapist and molester of underage girls--including the one who ended up dead. When Mia keeps insisting he's innocent, Wayoata's residents turn against her, too--violently. This doesn't stop her from rooting out the truth, but saving her brother might cost Mia her life.

Smith's first thriller--her previous titles are historical fiction--is deliciously creepy, full of nasty characters and wry observations such as: "They fancied themselves Sex and the City type gals, without the city," and "It said something about the town that the welcome sign was always in some state of defacement while the antiabortion sign remained unscathed." Mia may be flawed, but she's fierce and loyal to Lucas. Smith will likely gain some loyalty, too, from readers who will follow her down whatever dark path she travels next. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd

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