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Review: ‘Before She Was Found’ by Heather Gudenkauf ⭐⭐⭐.5



One of them knows what happened that night…

For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be a normal sleepover – movies and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.

Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted – not even those closest to her. But who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora – and why?

Thank you to HQ, NetGalley and Heather Gudenkauf for the chance to read and review this novel.

“Three twelve-year-old girls walk into a train yard and two come out unscathed.”

Having your child attacked and almost killed is every parents worst nightmare. Or is it? What if your child was suspected of attempting to murder their friend before they had even reached their teens? What kind of horror would this be and how far would you go to protect them even if deep down you believed in their guilt? All these questions, and more, are explored in this twisty, readable thriller.

There are multiple narrators, different timelines and various forms of telling the story such as transcripts of police interviews and text messages alongside the usual storytelling in both past and present tense. This sounds confusing, yet it never was.

“No one was supposed to get hurt, Grandpa. It was all just a stupid game.”

This book starts with an opening chapter that is undeniable chilling, but instantly thought it was going to be a re-telling of the Slenderman stabbing. While some parallels could be drawn, I’m glad to say that I was surprised by the path this story took and was totally wrong in both my initial concern and a number of the things I thought I’d figured out about what happened that night in the train yard, who hurt Cora Landry, and why. While not gripping, there was enough mystery about the attacker’s identity and what exactly happened to keep me interested until the end.

Publication Date: 13th June 2019.


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