Twenty years ago, the bodies of 11-year old boys Charlie Paige and Scott Ashby were found near a dog racing track in Bristol. The man convicted of their murder was mentally challenged and recently committed suicide, having never stopped professing his innocence. Now the body of a man who was thought to have absconded to Venezuela after a major financial scam was discovered near the same site, having been there all along and forcing a fresh look into the boys’ murders. Cody Swift, one of the boys’ friends who was supposed to be with them that night, has also launched a new podcast exploring the old case, exposing new information that would have challenged the findings and casting Charlie’s mother Jessica in a blemished spotlight. The boys were supposed to have been under her care that evening.
I like mysteries or police procedurals where there’s a look back over solved cases. This one was especially intriguing as we soon learn there was every reason to be skeptical of the original conclusions. John Fletcher, the lead detective of the old case and now the new one, is one of the narrators so we get valuable insights about the old case. Jessica Paige is a very different person from the broken mess she was when her son died. She’s now married, a former successful television actress and mother of a 16-year old daughter who doesn’t want her past resurrected.
The story transitions between the two investigations, the original and the new one. What makes this unique is the podcast which is presented in broadcast format, even more ideal in the audio version. However, whereas in the printed book the old case is highlighted, there wasn’t any indicator for when the narrative reverted to the past in this version. It wasn’t always clear when that happened but I was able to adjust. Otherwise, I loved everything else about the audio performance with three narrators handling the characters exceptionally well.
I really enjoyed this story with its flawed, conflicted host of players, including the lead investigator. Sifting through the truths and lies, trying to determine which was what from unreliable narrators made this even more of a puzzle. While I figured out the framework of the truth, I was still thrown by the little twist at the end that tossed it all up in the air. There’s a reason why this author is an auto read as nothing and no one in this story was sacred and you have to keep your wits about you. Really well done.
- Release Date: September 18, 2018
- Narrators: Steven Brand, Imogen Church and Steve West
- Audio Length: 9 hours, 58 minutes
- Publisher: HarperAudio
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(I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased)