Hailey McBride is 17-years old and feeling trapped in a potentially dangerous situation. Her father recently died and she’s now living with her Aunt Lana and her husband Vaughn, a police sergeant who bullies most of the people in Cold Creek, British Columbia. He’s particularly threatening to Hailey, so bad that she’s decided to run away and live in the nearby mountains with the help of her best friend Jonny Miller. The timing is unfortunate because she’s just starting what could be a wonderful relationship with Amber Chevalier. Not long after she “disappeared,” she discovers Amber’s murdered body near the highway that’s developed a reputation for being dangerous to young girls. She suspects Vaughn may have been responsible for Amber and two other girls deaths but she needs more time to gather evidence.
One year later, Amber’s sister Beth comes to town to attend a memorial for all the girls who died or went missing on the dark road. She’s still not recovered and is medicating herself with pills and alcohol. Beth decides she’s going to stay awhile and find out exactly what happened to her sister.
I really liked Hailey and felt her desperation as if it was my own. The situation with Vaughn was maddening and I thought her decision to run away was her only alternative, which gives you some idea of how bad things were for her. She was well trained by her father in survival and the wilderness and I loved the stray shepherd with multicolored eyes who befriended and protected her. That companionship was one of the most heartwarming aspects of the story. Beth remained an enigma to me as her thought process was mangled by her drug and alcohol dependencies, making a lot of her choices seem risky and life threatening at times. It wasn’t easy to figure out the identity of the killer even though Vaughn did enough to top that suspect list.
This story was inspired by the hundreds of missing indigenous girls who disappeared or were murdered on the Highway of Tears in Northern British Columbia since 1970. Most of the cases remain unsolved. I was somewhat disappointed that the story didn’t focus on the indigenous community but Hailey and Beth were compelling characters with tough histories of their own. Painstaking attention was given to developing these girls in the first half with an exciting payoff in the second. I listened to the story and loved the performances, especially the use of multiple narrators who wholly embraced the girls. There’s a poignant epilogue that’s a bit mystical and left me in a really good place. I enjoyed it overall but wish there had been more related to the true crimes.
- Release Date: August 3, 2021
- Narrators: Angela Dawe, Brittany Pressley & Isabella Star LeBlanc
- Audio Length: 11 hours, 7 minutes
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio