Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth
This is Lola’s story. When she was a young teenager, she lived in a dysfunctional home with a father who loved her but was mentally incompetent, and a mother who withheld her love (if there was any there to begin with). Being so alone at home and a non-entity at school made her both surprised and grateful when Chloe came to town and adopted Lola as her best friend.
Chloe was nearly the perfect golden girl. Blond-haired and blue-eyed, she was the prettiest girl in school, had a fearless attitude, and was very popular. Lola couldn’t believe her good fortune. There were, however, a few kinks in Chloe’s otherwise perfect persona. She was a serious discipline problem and she loved to live dangerously. At the age of 14, she hooked up with Carl, a creepy 20-something.
One cold autumn day, Chloe and Carl go to the woods for one of their typical trysts with Lola tagging along. Lola, made to wait outside the car while the couple has sex, meets a mentally challenged man named Wilson, and in their brief conversation Lola lets drop that Chloe is being used as jailbait. Wilson can’t help repeating “jailbait” and laughing when Carl and Chloe surface, causing an enraged Carl to chase him into the woods.
In a short time, two things happen. Wilson goes missing, and Chloe and Carl drown in a nearby lake. So forms the backdrop of this psychological thriller that has Lola trying to reconcile what happened to these people, and what her role has been in causing their tragedies. This is a magnificent read for book clubs of all types.
William Morrow/HarperCollins; ISBN 978-0-06207-603-8; $14.99.