Fifteen years ago, Lilith Wade was arrested for the brutal murder of six women. After a death row conviction and media frenzy, her thirty-year-old daughter Edie is a recovering alcoholic with a dead-end city job, just trying to survive out of the spotlight.
Edie also has a disturbing secret: a growing obsession with the families of Lilith’s victims. She’s desperate to discover how they’ve managed—or failed—to move on, and whether they’ve fared better than her. She’s been careful to keep her distance, until the day one of them is found murdered and she quickly becomes the prime suspect. Edie remembers nothing of the night of the death, and must get to the truth before the police—or the real killer—find her.
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.
To celebrate the publication of In Her Bones, we’re also giving away two copies. Enter below for your chance to win Kate Moretti’s new book.
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Eligibility: This giveaway is open to residents in the UK only.
Running Time: The giveaway will run from 10 October 2018 to 17 October 2018. Entries received after this time will not be considered.
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In Her Bones was published by Titan Books on 2 October 2018