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Innocence
     

Innocence

4.0 5
by Karen Novak
 

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Download the reading guide to Innocence here
"The dark corners of the human soul are Karen Novaks specialty, and there are few writing today who able to illuminate them with such courage and elegance." -Karen Karbo
When private investigator Leslie Stones own thirteen-year-old daughter, Molly, attempts to hire her to find a vanished friend, the case

Overview

Download the reading guide to Innocence here
"The dark corners of the human soul are Karen Novaks specialty, and there are few writing today who able to illuminate them with such courage and elegance." -Karen Karbo
When private investigator Leslie Stones own thirteen-year-old daughter, Molly, attempts to hire her to find a vanished friend, the case stirs memories of one from Leslies own troubled childhood: a series of abductions of girls who became known as the Nightingales. Five eighth-grade boys are being charged with assaulting Mollys friend. But even as their small town erupts in anger and calls for justice, Molly insists that the boys are innocent, and takes the stand to testify on their behalf.
Leslies investigations show that although Molly may be right, someone is guilty. As the case draws her own secret knowledge of the Nightingales history toward the light, she is left uncertain of every instinct except the one that demands she protect her child- even if she has to betray her own childhood by telling everything.
"A smart, realistic tale of female identity and deception." -Time Out New York
"This will surely be touted as a suspense novel, and suspenseful it is. But this elegantly written and intricately plotted work transcends genre... This frightening and mesmerizing book deserves a wide readership." -Library Journal
"A tantalizing page-turner." -Cincinnati CityBeat

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Leslie Stone, private investigator, semi-estranged mother and wife, and bearer of a dreadful secret, nearly commits a murder in the first pages of this quiet, complicated thriller by Novak (Five Mile House; Ordinary Monsters). The scene serves well as an introduction to a woman literally haunted by the past: Leslie has visions of dead children, stemming from a series of 20-year-old child molestations whose ramifications ruined her father's reputation and effectively ended her childhood. Now events further threaten her precarious mental equilibrium, as she finds herself caught up in a different string of events, which mirror the earlier abductions. Lydia, once a friend of Leslie's own 13-year old, Molly, has grown up fast and loose. Sexually knowing, popular and wild, she disappears after a party at her house and, when she finally turns up, has been sexually abused. As the case and Molly's involvement in it become murkier, Leslie is forced to confront her own past in order to refigure her relationships with the members of her family-both living and long dead. The plot moves slowly and mostly without suspense-readers will guess the secrets long before they're revealed-but the three principal female characters (Leslie, Molly and Lydia) come vividly to life. The mystery takes second place to Novak's ability to describe the complexity of female relationships and the odd mixture of innocence and knowing, of childish simplicity and difficult secrecy, that characterizes girls on the cusp of adulthood-girls who are the real focus here. Agent, Elizabeth Sheinkman. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This will surely be touted as a suspense novel, and suspenseful it is. But this elegantly written and intricately plotted work transcends genre. A police officer-turned- private investigator specializing in missing children, Leslie Stone is drawn into an unusual case. Five junior high boys in school with Leslie's daughter are accused of raping classmate Lydia, who has mysteriously disappeared. Nothing is what it seems, and finding the truth involves delving into an earlier horror: Leslie herself suffers from visual and auditory hallucinations stemming from a series of abductions and assaults that took place during her own teenage years. Is Leslie's daughter, Molly, telling the truth? Are the boys innocent? Where is Lydia? Novak shifts smoothly from Leslie's point of view to Molly's, Lydia's, and one of the boy's. Like the author's two earlier novels, Five Mile House (also featuring Leslie Stone) and Ordinary Monsters, this frightening and mesmerizing book deserves a wide readership.-Judith Kicinski, Sarah Lawrence Coll. Lib., Bronxville, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A woman teetering on the edge of sanity has to investigate a crime involving her own daughter. In Novak's ironically titled third novel (after Ordinary Monsters, 2002), p.i. Leslie Stone walks a fine line between using her own traumatic experiences to help her on a case and allowing her memories to swallow her whole. When Leslie was 13, her small town was ripped apart when 11 young girls (later named "Nightingales") were abducted from their houses, raped, then set free. Years later, Leslie became a cop, but she was sent to an asylum after ending an interrogation session with a suspected child murderer by shooting him dead. Now specializing in missing children-and separated from her husband-she gets hired by her 13-year-old daughter Molly to locate Lydia, her missing friend. The police are already looking into the incident that apparently caused Lydia to vanish: a recent party at Lydia's house that got out of hand to the point where five boys in Molly's class are suspected of sexually assaulting Lydia. As Molly desperately wants to prove that the boys did nothing wrong-she claims that Lydia was drunk and forced the boys to do what they did-she needs Leslie to find her in order that the truth can be told. The entire matter threatens to overwhelm Leslie, who is seeing ghostly figures of the Nightingales everywhere and has terrifying encounters with a ghostly presence, just possibly a symptom of her unraveling sanity. Novak spends too much time flipping back and forth to different points of view when the most compelling voice by far is that of Leslie: tired and resigned to her fate, fragile yet possessed of an almost otherworldly presence. A gripping story of gothic horrors told in the clearlight of a far-from-innocent small town. Agent: Elizabeth Sheinkman/Elaine Markson Agency
Karen Karbo
The dark corners of the human soul are Karen Novak''s specialty, and there are few writing today who able to illuminate them with such courage and elegance."
Time Out New York
"A smart, realistic tale of female identity and deception."
Cincinnati CityBeat
"A tantalizing page-turner."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596918689
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
12/09/2008
Series:
Leslie Stone Series , #2
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
689,508
File size:
826 KB

Meet the Author

Karen Novak is the author of Five Mile House and Ordinary Monsters. She lives in Mason, Ohio.

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Innocence 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I looked past the crap editing because the story was really good.