In Her Bones

In Her Bones

by Kate Moretti

Paperback

$14.40 $16.00 Save 10% Current price is $14.4, Original price is $16. You Save 10%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, June 24

Overview

“A higher level than the standard thriller. Readers will enjoy this book for the suspense...[and] love it for the skill and mastery Moretti has for her craft.” —New York Journal of Books

“Morbid...Moretti pulls some tricky tricks.” —The New York Times

New York Times bestselling author Kate Moretti’s next “exceptional...emotionally astute, [and] deliciously sinister” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) thriller follows the daughter of a convicted serial killer who finds herself at the center of a murder investigation.

Fifteen years ago, Lilith Wade was arrested for the brutal murder of six women. After a death row conviction, media frenzy, and the release of an unauthorized biography, her thirty-year-old daughter Edie Beckett is just trying to survive out of the spotlight. She’s a recovering alcoholic with a dead-end city job and an unhealthy codependent relationship with her brother.

Edie also has a disturbing secret: a growing obsession with the families of Lilith’s victims. She’s desperate to see how they’ve managed—or failed—to move on. While her escalating fixation is a problem, she’s careful to keep her distance. That is, until she crosses a line and a man is found murdered.

Edie quickly becomes the prime suspect—and while she can’t remember everything that happened the night of the murder, she’d surely remember killing someone. With the detective who arrested her mother hot on her trail, Edie goes into hiding. She’s must get to the truth of what happened that night before the police—or the real killer—find her.

Unless, of course, she has more in common with her mother than she’s willing to admit...

Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware, In Her Bones features Moretti’s “riveting and insightful” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author) prose and “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists, and will leave you questioning the nature of guilt, obsession, and the toxicity of familial ties.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501166471
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 227,122
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kate Moretti is the New York Times bestselling author of Thought I Knew You, Binds That Tie, and While You Were Gone. She lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids. Find out more at KateMoretti.com or follow her on Twitter: @KateMoretti1 or Facebook: /KateMorettiWriter.

Read an Excerpt

In Her Bones

Your life is more open than you think. You think you’re safe. You have neighborhood watches and room-darkening drapes, password-protected computers, alarm systems, and garage codes that are absolutely not your firstborn’s birthday. Even with all that, it’s practically there for the taking. Anyone can find out anything about you, and sometimes, if they ask the right way, you’ll just tell them.

People are too trusting. Naive. Even with the news blinking tragedy and fear in a nonstop cycle, we still trust. Well, you do.

I don’t.

I’m a good person, although on paper, it might be difficult to convince anyone. I don’t seem like a good person. I’ll tell you that I only ever use what I uncover to help. Have I taken things too far? Sometimes. Am I sorry? Almost never. In the darkest parts of the night, when the truth is laid bare, I’d like to tell you that I have regrets. I have some, everyone does. But not about the watching. Alone with my thoughts, the only question I turn over and over is Am I like her?

I pull the hair off my neck, it’s hot already and only 7:00 a.m., but that’s Philadelphia in August. The air itself sweats.

I head north on York Street, where I’ll pick up the El. I do feel a weird bubbling in my chest on Monday mornings. Not so much because I love my job, but because I love the stability of it. I enjoy being able to go somewhere, at a particular time each day, and be useful, industrious. I like sitting in my cube, tapping at my computer, hitting send or filing the latest report. I like answering emails, checking things off my list. I like being told I’m efficient. I am efficient, in every aspect of my life.

I am lucky to have a city job, a clerk, technically an “interviewer.” It’s a government job that I don’t deserve, with good pay and decent benefits. I sit on the phone with criminals for hours at a stretch, obtaining bits and pieces of boring data that the police can’t waste their time collecting: addresses, aliases, Social Security numbers, basic information for the public defenders. The other half of my day involves writing reports and processing court fees and parking fines.

Sometimes I see Brandt on my commute. Gil Brandt, the detective who arrested Lilith. The man who gave me a second, third, and fourth chance. It’s complicated, but probably not in the way you think. Or maybe exactly in the way you’d think.

Today, there’s no Brandt. Just the orange stacked seats of SEPTA, the blank, dreary faces on a Monday morning, the vaguely warm odor, like the inside of a public dryer: a little wet, a little musty. The man next to me huddles into the window, a paperback folded into his hands, his cracked lips moving to the words, even as his eyes dart up and out the window, down the metal floor, gummed with black. The seats are full, and the aisles are crowded but not packed, the faint fug of an armpit over my shoulder. I’ve taken the El every day for five years, early mornings, late nights, the train punctuating the days and giving me a structure and definition that keeps me forward-looking, which hasn’t always been my strong suit.

Two rows above, a blonde turns, her hair falling into her eyes, her fingers scraping the metal pole by her seat, and her eyes resting on me, only for a second, but long enough to feel their zing. Lindy Cook. Couldn’t have been more than twenty, her mother taken by Lilith’s rage when she was a child, maybe even a toddler. Lindy, so small when she lost her mother, a toddling, swollen towhead with a red sucker and pink-ringed mouth in all the court pictures, was now a lithe, lanky dancer, an apprentice at the Pennsylvania Ballet. That was all I knew. I search my brain, my memory for something—any detail about her life—and come up blank.

And now she was here. Here! My train. Why? She’d never been on this train before, and I took the El every day. The brakes squeal at 13th Street, the forward momentum pushing me into the pole in front of me, sending the arm over my shoulder bumping against my head. I stand and Lindy stands, and across the train we make eye contact again, her face blank as a stone. My heart thunders, my ears so filled with it that I barely hear the loudspeaker garbling nonsense. We head for the same door and I hang back, watching her step onto the platform. She tosses her hair, and I catch the smell of damp jasmine. She keeps her head low, only to look back just once (was it nervously?) at me.

Up at street level, she heads north on 13th Street, my direction, and I wonder once, crazily, if she’s coming to work with me. If she’s looking for me, if she’s found out about me, who I am and what I do, some kind of sideways revenge scheme for taking her mother, which is, of course, no more sideways than what I do to them. I follow her for two blocks, blocks I would be walking anyway, but I stay a good five people behind her, the bobbing heads of bankers and jurors, lawyers and judges, bopping headphoned dudes appearing in court to fight parking tickets, clerks at Macy’s, and cubicle swampers from the Comcast building. Lindy’s head isn’t hard to follow, the blond shining like the sun against the gray.

She passes my building and I nearly jump out of my skin, thinking she’s going to turn left onto Filbert and I’ll be forced to follow behind her, wanded through by security. But she passes right by, picking up speed, her long legs moving her faster than I can keep up. She stops at an intersection, picks up a paper and a hot Styrofoam cup at a street vendor, offering him a smiling hello and a laugh. The kind of exchange that evolved organically, after an established routine. She darts across Broad Street, six lanes of traffic, and disappears inside the Pennsylvania Ballet studio building. Before pushing through the revolving door, she glances back at me once with a questioning look, her head cocked to the side. I stand on the street, frozen, watching her recognize me as the girl from the train, and now, oddly, the girl who followed her here to the place where she thought was she safe.

• • •

My desk is in the basement: a gunmetal gray and fabric nothingness that lends itself to both slog and productivity in equal measure. Unlike my coworkers, even Belinda who is relentlessly chipper, I don’t mind the drear. The sides are tall enough to maintain privacy, and I tuck myself into the corner, compiling reports, processing parking and court fines with enough focused efficiency to please a myriad of bosses.

I hurl my bag onto my desk, knocking against Belinda’s cube, and her black, bobbing head appears. Her face is flat in a pretty way, her mouth and nose pressed together like she’s perpetually grinning. Her cheeks flushed with health. Belinda is simultaneously hard to like and dislike.

“Hi! You’re late. You’re never late.” She says this without judgment or curiosity, just that it is a fact. She’s right. I’ve never been late.

“I know. The train,” I offer feebly with no real explanation, Lindy’s face still fresh in my mind, her blue eyes widening with recognition, her glossed mouth parting, the faint scrutinizing dip in her eyebrows. I don’t have the patience for Belinda’s weekend recap: underground clubs with her singer boyfriend, the winding drama of her two closest friends.

“Weller is looking for you. There’s a guy on line one, been in the tank since last night.” She sucks a mint around her teeth, her tongue poking into her cheek to find it, and at the same time, takes a slug of coffee from a Starbucks paper cup. She means the interview lines, and she waves the contact forms in front of my face. Name, address, aliases, birthday, age, arrest code. Collecting information is something I’m particularly talented at. Criminals take a liking to me; I’m easy to talk to. The psychology of someone caught has always been interesting to me. Sometimes they open up, saying more than they should. Sometimes, they’re new to the system, and they clam up, terrified, forgetting their addresses, their minds wiped. Sometimes they’re high, or worse, coming down. Other times they’re straight as a beam. The women are usually less trusting, but only at first. It’s generally my favorite part of my job, talking to them.

“Can you do it? I think I’m coming down with something. My throat.” But I motion to my head, some undefined sickness overcoming me, and she shrugs and wanders off, presumably to find Weller, my boss du jour. Management cycles through like the seasons around here; only the lower levels, the drones like us, persevere.

My computer chugs to life and before I open my emails, I navigate to Facebook and search for Lindy Cook, her wide smile filling my screen. Her profile is locked down; the only pictures available to me are those used for her profile. Her email and even her username are hidden. Damnit. Quickly, I navigate to her friends list and give a silent cheer when I find it’s public. I download the profile picture of one of her lesser friends—toward the bottom of her list—and in a new tab, make a new Facebook profile. I use the same name, the same picture, and click on about twenty-five of their mutual friends and select Send Friend Request. Immediately, three of them accept. I wait five minutes, and Send Friend Request to Lindy. I push back my chair, walk purposefully to the kitchenette and make a cup of tea, dunking the bag, feeling the curl of steam against my face.

The Facebook trick was one I’d perfected on Rachel. She was so trusting. Truly darling.

I’d been sober, working at the courthouse for a year before it occurred to me to use the system to look up people I knew, before things fell apart. Keep an eye on them. Rachel was washed out and plain. Married to a man with a round belly and freckled nose, an infant tucked between them on the beach, his pale skin ruddy from the sun. It hadn’t been difficult; she wasn’t hiding. She worked as a teacher for a charter school, just like Redwood Academy. Her Instagram was heavily populated with filtered images: flowers, the sky, her baby girl; her posts captioned with long, poignant statements about love and life and motherhood and teaching. If I met her now, I’d forget her immediately: she was simple and emotionally displayed. I looked at every picture, dating back two years, and chewed on TUMS the whole time. I wonder if she ever thought about the girl from high school, the one with the murdering mother? You’d never think she knew such a person, not by looking at her.

But then, you can’t tell anything about anyone by looking at them.

Mia had a Twitter account but no Facebook or Instagram. She was a journalist with bylines in the Inquirer until a few years ago. Now she’s an editor, practically invisible. She periodically tweeted out her articles, and other sociopolitical commentary. Zip on her personal life. I searched public records. No marriage. No kids. An order of protection against a man named Samuel Park, stemming from a controversial abortion story she’d written, dating back to 2012. It took some digging but I found her apartment, a condo unit in Radnor on the Main Line. Not horrifically expensive, but not cheap, either. One picture in her media files: a girl’s night (#GNO!), sleek hair and little black dresses, high heels and red lipstick. Three women, all virtually interchangeable. I couldn’t have told you which one was Mia.

Neither of them had a life I wanted.

Still. The hunt thrilled me. The flush of heat against my neck at each discovery, the way the keys flew under my fingertips, the information seemed summoned at will—almost effortless. The ease with which people gave up what felt to them like innocuous information: their first pet, their first car, their favorite teacher. Nothing about the internet felt real—to me or anyone else. I wasn’t breaking any laws, doing anything immoral or unethical, none of it was tangible. It was all bits of data flying around in space; who cared about individual little bits of data? I enjoyed the manipulation, this gentle bend of virtual facts.

Mia and Rachel were boring. Then I realized that while Brandt knew me so well, I knew very little about him. I started with his ex-wife, now happily living in an Atlanta suburb with her new husband. I friended her on Facebook, my profile picture a stargazer lily, beseechingly raw, almost vaginal. A pic from the garden! I’d called myself Lily Beck, so stupid, so traceable to me—I was my own first lesson. People choose nothing at random. Not passwords, not usernames, not pet names, nothing. A few months later came a text: Unfriend my ex-wife, Beckett. That was it. No explanation, no further instructions. I didn’t ask how he figured it out. I didn’t protest, although I’d wanted to. I hadn’t done anything wrong. I just watched her life (Her name was Mabel. Mabel! Like a storybook heroine). Honestly, what else is social media good for? The pictures of her new husband, her gabled McMansion in a plush neighborhood, dinners at the country club, her mouth wide and laughing into the camera, her skin glowing and dewy from the southern humidity. Her skin looked dipped in gold, glittering and creamy.

Why? I know this is in me, this impulse to obsess, to stand on the outside with my hands pressed against the glass. Bored with Rachel and Mia, caught by Brandt, I had punched Mitchell Cook into the system at work on a whim. I guess that’s how it started, but who’s to say? Do you ever question how anyone starts a hobby? When exactly and why did you take up knitting?

I’d imagine that everyone on the precipice of thirty examines their life and finds it wanting in some way. But as an on-again, off-again alcoholic with no life, no boyfriend, and a job in the courthouse basement—which let’s be honest, is as dank and dark as it comes—the gap between myself and everyone else my own age seemed interminable. Late one night, I saw an interview with Matthew Melnick, the fiancé of Melinda Holmes, during one of the docudramas. He had said some of them had found each other, found comfort together, in an online forum called Healing Hope. At first, I just watched them talk to one another.

Maybe I wanted to know: How did they move on?

I started to loosely keep track of them all. What had become of the people touched by Lilith? Touched by Lilith. Listen to me sanitize. What had become of the people whose loved ones were murdered by my mother?

I have more in common with the collateral damage of Lilith’s crimes than with anyone else. The only people I feel any affinity toward are people I’ve never met. Lilith Wade shelled me, scooped out my insides with her thin matchstick fingers, and derailed any meaningful life I might have had—and she’d done the same thing to them, too. I’d wondered how they moved on, grew up, became adults, had children. Did the rest of them move away, start over, remarry? Some did. Most stayed in the area, many within city limits: the Dresdens, the Hoffmans, the Mayweathers. Lindy Cook. Walden Holmes.

Peter Lipsky. Yes, I have favorites. Why? I don’t know. He’s the hardest, so there’s that. I’ve always liked a challenge. I can hardly ever find anything interesting on him at all. It has to be there, though, it always is.

How quickly it became second nature, not something I did here and there, but rather something I now do. Repeatedly, if not daily. I find all their speeding tickets, their jury duty summonses, and once a public urination fine—Walden was a bit of a drunk—and simply erase them. Delete. Mark as PAID IN FULL. It’s an easy reach and makes the rest of it seem fine. Justified, even. A few months ago, Walden got into a bar fight. I’d wanted to dismiss the arrest record, but I don’t have access to that system. Yet.

Now it felt as routine as making coffee in the break room.

Back at my desk, Lindy accepts. I open her profile and scan through, looking for an email. Most people set their privacy to the default friends only and never think about it again.

LBaker62998. Lbaker. Lindy Cook. Cutesy.

In the Google search bar, I type in LBaker62998. A long list of results pops up, all the places she’s been, the places she’s logged on. Comments on Wordpress blogs, a Flickr page, a forum for dancers, and a long list of posts whining about the corps, being looked down upon as an apprentice, a question about back flexibility and bunion pain, and inexplicably, a forum for pregnancy, which I slot in the interesting-although-not-immediately-relevant column. Then I see it, a post, made six months ago on Healing Hope. I click on it, my hands shaking. My mother was killed in a famous crime. I can’t tell anyone. I think about it all the time now and I don’t know why. I can’t stop reading old newspaper articles. I was only a baby. Should I get counseling? 722 responses.

“Beckett.” Weller is hovering over my shoulder, a scrim of stubble along his jaw, his voice wet and garbled, a thin sweep of gray across his red, gleaming crown. He cranes to look around me, to my screen, and I angle in front of it and give him a smile. “Can you get the guy on line one? 5505, nothing major. He’s drying out.” 5505 is a drunk in public; these are most of my interviewees. These guys also like to fight, so sometimes I get the aggravated assaults, too. Which is fine, they all sound the same on the phone.

“Weller, I’m feeling kind of sick.” I clear my throat, force my voice froggy. His eyebrows shoot up, I’ve never begged off a job in my life. “I think Belinda said she’d take it?” I hate the upward lilt in my voice, the question. It’s unlike me and Weller knows it. He rubs his palm against his cheek and grumbles.

“Check your email. We’ve got a department meeting at one, okay?” He ambles away, stopping at a desk down the hall to pluck a Hershey’s bite size out of an open candy jar. His pants hike up as he walks, exposing a thin, vulnerable strip of pink above his black socks and work shoes.

I swivel around, look back at my computer, and start skimming the responses. The first hundred are standard and repetitive.

Yes, you need to see a professional.

Please get help. Don’t read the articles, you’re fixating on it.

Have you tried hypnosis? Helped me tremendously!

Then, I see it. Lindy, can you get in touch with me? PLipsky@gmail.com.

I knew I had seen Lindy’s username before. She and Peter Lipsky talked sometimes, but I hadn’t connected LBaker62998 to Lindy Cook. Why would I? Maybe I’m slipping. I feel the odd, unwelcome pang of jealousy, a thing I can barely justify, as I imagine Lindy and Peter, exchanging late-night texts, emails. I wonder if they’d talked on the phone, met in person? I imagine her long, gold-spun hair twisting around her finger as she listened to his doe-eyed talk about the grief that wakes him up at two in the morning, keeping him awake until his alarm goes off.

I imagine how taken he’d be with her, over a cup of coffee at Mickey’s Diner, if he’d fumble with the sugar, trying to tear four packets at once, and if she’d cover his hand with hers, deftly opening them into his coffee for him. Peter is awkward, Lindy is young, charismatic. I click through to Peter’s Facebook, only a handful of pictures. A narrow face, square jaw, blue eyes, hooded and sleepy. A thick roll of hair, scooped pockets of purple under his eyes. His cheeks flushed red against the fall backdrop of an outdoor biking trip. His smile thin, more like the memory of a smile, deep parentheses around his mouth.

• • •

Peter Lipsky is an insurance claims adjuster. He lives alone in a one-bedroom apartment on the first floor of a stone house in Chestnut Hill. His Facebook page is more public than it should be, but all I’ve been able to glean from it is that he’s a Flyers fan. He posts a few updates during the games but now, in August, he’s fairly quiet. Once a week, he checks his astrology and it automatically posts. I bet he has no idea. His smile is nice, if not vulnerable and almost wounded. In other words, he’s nearly invisible. In a crowd, I’d never pay any attention to him.

He has an older photo: a church, a white, billowing dress and big blond hair, and himself, tall and thin, the tuxedo hanging limply from pointed shoulders. This picture I save to my desktop. I blow it up, try to look at her face, but it’s too grainy. It’s a photo of a photo, the original taken sometime in the nineties, before smartphones and social media. Before the internet really took off, so there’s nothing about her online that doesn’t come from Peter, which is fine, really, because I already know her name. Colleen.

Before she died, Colleen was a pediatric nurse. Lilith never talked about Peter. She’s talked about the others: in interviews with police or psychologists or once a reporter. But if they bring up Peter she blinks wetly, confused and open mouthed. As far as I know there was no connection between them. No affair, no passionate love like Quentin. Colleen and Peter were married for nearly three years before Lilith came. Peter was at an insurance conference—who knew there was such a thing—and Colleen had taken the trash out to the Dumpster. They lived in a condo complex not far from where Peter lives now, and the Dumpster was on the dark side of the building. Lilith stabbed her three times in the chest and left her in the dark. Two of the three wounds were surface. Hesitation marks, they call them.

Another tenant found her eight hours later. They connected all Lilith’s victims through psychological profiles, victim commonalities, and stab wounds. She used the same knife: a combination serrated and plain edge utility knife, a common tool for hunters because it cuts both wood and bone. Later she’d claim she’d gotten it from her daddy, a man I’d never known or even heard her speak of.

Colleen was somewhat of an outlier. Police, investigators, lawyers, even Lilith herself could not tell you why she was killed. This, as I learned through forum posts, drives Peter absolutely crazy. Why Colleen? How do they know for sure, if Lilith Wade won’t confess? He has nightmares about it, waking up at all hours, unable to fall back to sleep until he logs into Healing Hope. He talks to whoever is there. Sometimes that is Lindy, sometimes it is a handle called WinPA99. I had no idea who that was, a search of her name turned up nothing. I only knew she was female because Peter once asked another forum member where she was. I couldn’t connect her to Lilith.

In Healing Hope, I spend my evenings watching the forum members’ usernames blink in and out. I never post, only observe. WinPA99 has never posted, either, and she only speaks to Peter. She is grieving her sister, murdered almost twenty years before. Some of their posts and responses are public. Lindy comments all the time and talks to anyone who listens. Peter is only ever active in the middle of the night, like me.

He hasn’t been online in a week. The longest I’ve ever seen him go.

The squeak of shoes brings me back to the present. Weller. I click out of the internet window and back to CrimeTrack, the city’s system for logging dispatch calls and incidents. I fake a cough, hacking into the crook of my arm. He pauses behind my desk, shielded by the half wall, and thinks I can’t hear him breathe: the hefty rasp of a man who likes his McDonald’s and cheesesteaks. Then, he’s gone.

I type Peter’s name into the search bar, and I’m surprised to see a return. Logged two weeks ago: a suspected break-in.

Lipsky, Peter. 7/19/2016: Call received at 11:27 p.m. Suspected break-in. Nothing reported missing. Caller distraught. Claims apartment is disheveled. Officer on scene says apartment appears in order. See log #769982.

I’m irritated at myself for missing this. I’d been distracted by the others.

Maybe I’ll leave early today.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for In Her Bones includes discussion questions and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
.
Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. While few of us fear, like Edie, that we are doomed to become unhinged or murderous, many people worry about becoming like their parents. Are there traits or habits of one or both of your parents that you dread potentially inheriting?

2. Even years after her conviction, Lilith Wade and the murders she committed are able to garner media attention. What do you think it is about serial killers in general, or her story specifically, that capture the public’s attention?

3. It’s not uncommon to refer to researching someone online as social media “stalking” them, looking into their background, old photos, etc. to gather information about a new acquaintance or a potential romantic partner. Edie also uses the wealth of information readily available in the digital era to her advantage, but takes it to a level that can more seriously be considered stalking. Where is the line between everyday online “stalking” and inappropriately prying into someone’s life?

4. During the course of her investigation, Edie receives a lot of contradictory information. Without an obvious, corroborated truth, how do you tell if someone is lying? On what do you think Edie based her judgments of who was being honest with her?

5. Why do you think Kate Moretti included excerpts from The Serrated Edge interspersed among the chapters of In Her Bones? What did it add to the story as you read?

6. Both Edie and her brother, Dylan, have obsessive tendencies and a disregard for healthy boundaries. Edie finds the impact of “nurture” reassuring, suggesting her mother’s psychosis isn’t “in her bones”—do you agree? Why, or why not? To what extent do you think Edie and Dylan have inherited some of their mother’s unbalanced nature as a result of the trauma they suffered at her hands, as opposed to genetic predisposition?

7. If Edie’s father had been the murderer instead of her mother, do you think her reaction would have been different at all? Why, or why not? And if so, in what ways would that have affected her? Would it have affected the way other people saw Edie or her parent’s crimes?

8. The author of The Serrated Edge blames Lilith’s family for not preventing her crimes. After hearing the author’s motivation for writing the book, do you think this perspective was understandable? Do you think more could have, or should have, been done to preempt the murders or bring Lilith to justice earlier?

9. Gil Brandt and Dr. Doyle both assert that “Knowing about someone is not the same as knowing them.” (p. 281) What do you think it means to truly know someone?

10. Were you surprised by the transformation Edie has undergone by the epilogue? What do you think the future holds for her and Tim?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. There are many true crime biographies of serial killers, in the vein of The Serrated Edge: The Story of Lilith Wade, Serial Killer. Consider reading one with your book group, such as Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guin or Unholy Messenger: The Life and Crimes of the BTK Serial Killer by Stephen Singular. Discuss in conjunction with In Her Bones: did reading Edie’s story affect how you read the true crime biography at all? Did they raise any similar questions about the nature of serial killers, or what allows them to commit so many murders before being apprehended?

2. Edie repeatedly remarks on how easy it is to “research” people given our lax attention on privacy in the digital era. As an experiment, consider assigning everyone in your book group another member’s name. How much information can you find out about that person (without actually hacking each other’s accounts)? What inferences might you make about who they are and how they live based on what is publicly available online (profile pictures, public social media accounts, professional information, etc.)? Share your findings with the group (and perhaps upgrade your privacy settings together!).

3. Ali Land’s novel Good Me Bad Me also centers on the daughter of a female serial killer. Consider reading it with your book club, and comparing it with In Her Bones. What themes appear in both novels, and in what ways do they diverge?

4. Check out more of Kate Moretti’s books, such as The Blackbird Season and The Vanishing Year. To find out more about Kate, visit KateMoretti.com, or follow her on Twitter @KateMoretti1 or Facebook.com/katemorettiwriter.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

In Her Bones: A Novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
KrittersRamblings 6 months ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings I have read almost all of Kate Moretti's books and they are all unique and such good reads. Lilith Wade was arrested for killing six women and usually a mystery/thriller would completely focus on her serial killing and her victims, but not this book. This book focuses on her son and daughter that are left out in the world trying to live with the consequences of what she did. Edie Beckett was such an interesting character to follow. She was on the cusp of being unreliable and I liked that I was wondering if I should trust if she was a good person in the middle of all of the chaos. When one of the surviving victims of her mother's past is murdered and she was in the middle of it, Edie goes on the run and must solve the murder to prove her own innocence.
Nanna51 More than 1 year ago
This was a very hard book for me to get into at first, but I am glad that I stuck with it because it was actually a good story. Edie has a problem because her mother is in prison for murder and now a man with whom Edie had contact is discovered murdered and Edie becomes the prime suspect. Is murdering someone hereditary? Can the murder gene really exist? Edie is a flawed character with a lot of problems but she also has a lot of intelligence and she is determined to solve the mystery before she gets thrown in prison or worse. I recommend this book to those who like psychological thrillers. With a slow start and a lot of background information that needs to be explained, it is not an easy book to like, but it was a good book to read. Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I checked out my copy of this book from my local library via the Overdrive App. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
Nanna51 More than 1 year ago
This was a very hard book for me to get into at first, but I am glad that I stuck with it because it was actually a good story. Edie has a problem because her mother is in prison for murder and now a man with whom Edie had contact is discovered murdered and Edie becomes the prime suspect. Is murdering someone hereditary? Can the murder gene really exist? Edie is a flawed character with a lot of problems but she also has a lot of intelligence and she is determined to solve the mystery before she gets thrown in prison or worse. I recommend this book to those who like psychological thrillers. With a slow start and a lot of background information that needs to be explained, it is not an easy book to like, but it was a good book to read. Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I checked out my copy of this book from my local library via the Overdrive App. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
In Her Bones by Kate Moretti is a highly recommended mystery/suspense novel about a woman on the run trying to uncover the truth. Edie Beckett, 30, is just trying to live her life out of the spotlight. Fifteen years ago, her mother, Lilith Wade, was convicted of murdering six women, and sentenced to death row. The media frenzy continued after the release of the unauthorized biography by an unknown author. Edie is a recovering alcoholic who keeps to herself, has a co-dependent relationship with her brother, and an unhealthy obsession with the surviving family members of Lilith's victims. She keeps notebooks on their personal information, stalks them online (and in person if possible). Edie's current obsession is Peter Lipsky, whose wife was fatally stabbed by Lilith. She's stalking him online, through a survivor's message board, and collecting information about him and his late wife, Colleen. Colleen's murder is the one that doesn't fit the profile of Lilith's other victims. When Edie meets Peter during one of her reconnaissance missions, she ends up drinking too much and and goes home with him. She leaves before he wakes up, but is later found murdered that morning. She doesn't remember much of the night and now she is the prime suspect for his murder. Edie goes on the run while trying to uncover what really happened and who killed Peter. Edie is a sympathetic, fleshed-out character and the main narrator in the book, although there are also excerpts from the biography of Lilith included and a few from Gil Brandt, the detective who caught Lilith, but also helped Edie. As the novel unfolds, Edie reminisces about her troubled childhood with Lilith while dealing with her current situation. Edie is also clearly a damaged character, and much of this began in her childhood with Lilith. While on the run rather than talking to detectives, she does make some questionable/interesting choices along the way and has a few stumbles. In her own way, she is a resourceful, smart, and street savvy character. She is clever enough to evade being caught while trying to ferret out the truth about Peter's murder, which also requires her to look back at his wife's murder. Was Lilith responsible for it or is there another killer running loose out there and could Edie now be a target? I found this to be a well-written, compelling mystery (rather than thriller). The pace is even, rather than fast, until the end, but the steps Edie takes and her reasoning is interesting enough to keep your attention. In Her Bones held my attention throughout. Although I had all manner of guesses and suspects, I didn't have a clue about the ending until just before it happened. Nicely played Moretti! Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Atria Books via Netgalley.
DressedToRead More than 1 year ago
This is my third Kate Moretti novel and I am a big fan of her writing style. This one has a dark and twisted theme. I reads just like a true crime story . I recently (today actually) saw a Dr. Phil episode where he interviewed a woman whose father is a notorious serial killer. In the novel, Edie is the daughter of a woman who is a convicted serial killer. Well, it gets even more twisted when Edie gets too close to someone connected to one of her mother's victims. It definitely gets interesting and Edie finds herself wanted for murder. She is on the run while professing her innocence. Can she find the real killer before the police catch up with her? Detective Brandt has some history with Edie and knows how she operates. A great crime mystery with more than a few twists. Suspense minus the gore (thank you very much)! Looking forward to more from the talented Kate Moretti.
Boohimdanno More than 1 year ago
Kate Moretti is able to bring readers into her dark and twisted world where readers will never see what is coming until they read it. The story has more twist and turns than this reader expected. While the story is more of a physiological thriller than mystery as readers follow Edie on her quest to understand those effected by her mothers choices. In her Bones is slow moving for the first half of the book but slowly picks up as Edie struggles with her memories. The author is a master of the unexpected and readers will eat up her books. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher Atria Books for the advance copy of Kate Moretti In Her Bones.
Xkoqueen More than 1 year ago
In Her Bones is a tale of the aftermath of murder. There are no grisly scenes, just the weight the survivors carry in their hearts and how their lives are forever impacted by their loss. Ms. Moretti’s main character, Edie Beckett--the daughter of a serial killer, has spent her life feeling a bit guilty and remorseful for her mother’s misdeeds. Edie finds herself on a treacherous journey for survival that ultimately shows her that she is also a victim of Lilith Wade. In Her Bones is told primarily from Edie’s perspective; interspersed in the story are a few chapters of narration from Gil Brandt, the investigator who brought in Lilith Wade, as well as excerpts of an anonymously authored “tell-all” book about the Lilith Wade killing spree. Brandt and Edie are interesting characters. Through Edie’s narration, readers see her obsession with the victims’ families and the impact her unstable childhood has had via her poor decisions and inability to move on. The dynamic between Edie, her brother and her sister-in-law is odd in a perverse way. Brandt’s perspective made me question his intent toward Edie. At times he seems fatherly as he helps her find a sober path to adulthood after her mother is incarcerated. However, there are times when he seems a bit lecherous, which made me question his motives. As the story tension mounts while Edie is uncovering discrepancies in the original case, I found myself questioning Brandt’s work ethic and motives even more. When Edie’s (somewhat) chance meeting of one of the survivors leads to her being the prime suspect in his murder, she is on the run and on the clock to find the real killer. Was she the intended victim? Is she being framed? Is there anyone she can trust? After a bit of a slow but necessary story and character set up, this story twist ramps up the intrigue and action. I really enjoyed Edie’s intelligent sleuthing and her dogged determination. I loved that I was torn between believing that Brandt wanted to help her or just use her as an easy way to close a murder case. Ms. Moretti respectfully addresses abuse and mental illness as Lilith Wade’s life is revealed through the book excerpts and Edie’s investigations. All the while, readers are treated to a thrilling mystery featuring an intelligent and street-smart woman. The time pressure Edie feels became a loudly ticking clock in my head as I read the shocking twists along the way to a surprising culmination. I loved where Edie’s journey took her—a new beginning filled with hope and plans for a future as if a cancerous tumor had been cut out of her leaving her free from her past.
teachlz More than 1 year ago
My Review of “In Her Bones ” by Kate Moretti Atria Books, September 4, 2018 WOW! I loved the unique premise in “In Her Bones” by Author Kate Moretti. Can you imagine having a serial killer as a mother? Someone capable of nursing you when you are sick, but can stab women to death in cold-hearted murder? Add in a dysfunctional brother, who is constantly in your life. What about being obsessed with the families of the deceased and keeping detailed journals?? I read this novel in one sitting. “In Her Bones” is a captivating, intense, dark, twisted, riveting, page turning novel. The Genres for this novel are Fiction, Thriller, Mystery and Suspense. The story takes place in the present and goes to the past when it pertains to the characters or events in the story. The author describes her dysfunctional cast of characters as complex and complicated. Given the circumstances, that seems to be an understatement. I imagine that Freud would have a field day with this information. Edie Beckett tries to stay out of the spotlight, and even tries to stay sober. Someone has written a book about her mother’s brutal murdering sprees, and Edie can’t help be obsessed to see what is going on to those families who are the survivors. As fate steps in, Edie crosses the line, and gets drunk after socializing with one of the victims. Edie finds out he is dead, and she is confident that she didn’t kill him. Or did she? Is she her mother’s daughter? Edie runs to survive, and try to make sense of what happened and find out who the killer is. I would recommend this book to readers that love a suspenseful , intense and roller coaster of a ride. I received a copy from NetGalley for my honest review.
booklover- More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars Lilith Wade is sitting on death row. She brutally murdered six women ... all of them wives of the men she had affairs with. Edie Beckett is her daughter. She flies low hoping no one will determine who she really is. An anonymously written book detailing their lives has made her and her brother infamous. Gil Brandt is the detective who caught and arrested Lilith Wade. He's also made Edie a 'cause'. For some reason, he has taken an interest in her life and wants nothing more than for her to live out a normal life. But Edie has an obsession ... she charts all the husbands, friends, and families of the surviving husbands. But when she meets one in person and then spend the night with him .. her life suddenly becomes a real nightmare. The man is murdered, much like the killings of years ago. Is Edie truly her mother's daughter? Is she capable of such a crime? Or is she being framed by someone else? Who can she trust? This is a unique story told in 3 parts ... one is Edie's voice, another is the detective's take and the third is taken from the book. Although Edie hasn't seen her mother since she was a teenager, she has lots of memories. And sometimes she tortures herself with the thought that no one saw her mother for what she was and the things she had done. The characters are well-drawn and credible. I couldn't help but feel for Edie ... and the way she was brought up. She has/had issues that she's trying to come to terms with. I liked the Detective because he could see what Edie could become ... but does he also have a personal agenda? This is the first I've read of this author ... but it definitely won't be the last. Many thanks to the author and TBC Reviewer Request Group (Facebook) for the digital copy of this compelling novel. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.