True-crime junkie Avery Tensley wishes life were as easy to predict as an episode of Forensic Files. After botching her law school application, she finds work at a used bookstore, only to be consumed by a murder mystery surrounding its former occupant. As suspects emerge and small-town secrets unravel, Avery finds herself on the trail of a killer—while reckoning with her role in the death of a childhood friend.
If it weren’t for Jeffrey Dahmer, the whole thing may not have happened.
I was cruising downtown in the Buick, a podcast blaring from my phone, when I missed the stop sign. I should have been paying attention, but the episode featured Dahmer’s former neighbor, and her story about a suspicious sandwich Dahmer once gave her was far more interesting than watching for traffic signs.
That was totally a people panini, I thought, as the woman described what she had believed at the time was a sloppy joe.
It was a humid, late-summer day and I was headed home from filling a prescription for my roommate and best friend. Kaitlyn was bogged down with prepping for law school—and I, well, wasn’t—so I had offered to fetch it. The pharmacy was in the next town over, nestled on its quaint, old-fashioned main street. The prescription secure in my bag, I flicked on my podcast and pulled onto the street, confident I could navigate home without GPS. But distracted by Ms. People Panini, I sailed through the intersection without even a perfunctory pause at the stop sign, unaware of my mistake until I was almost T-boned.
The dusty maroon pick-up slammed on its horn and screeched to a stop, narrowly missing crashing into me. I swerved the Buick, coming to a stop in the thankfully empty sidewalk, my heart racing.