In Her Bones

A Novel

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About The Book

“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.

Excerpt

In Her Bones CHAPTER 1 Tuesday, August 2, 2016
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.

About The Author

Photograph (c) PR Photography

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.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (September 2018)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501166471

Raves and Reviews

Praise for In Her Bones:

"Morbid...Moretti pulls some tricky tricks when she sends Edie on the run, where she slips in and out of some neat disguises and suffers just enough to satisfy the most judgmental reader."

– New York Times Book Review

"Heightened language takes In Her Bones to a higher level than the standard thriller. Readers will enjoy this book for the suspense and plot twists, but love it for the skill and mastery Moretti has for her craft."

– New York Journal of Books

Captivating…Fans of twisty psychological thrillers will find plenty to like.”

– Publishers Weekly

"Kate Moretti is incredibly talented! In Her Bones is at once chilling and compelling, frightening and insightful—and truly madly deeply satisfying. You'll gasp at every twist, and turn these hauntingly sinister pages as fast as you can."            

– Hank Phillippi Ryan, nationally bestselling author of Trust Me

"Kate Moretti's In Her Bones is a suspenseful, whirling spiral of mysteries within mysteries, plot twists you won't see coming, and characters linked by deadly fates that stretch across the years. Moretti's prose is crisp and masterful, her people rich and real. Don't miss this haunting, wild thrill ride."

– David Bell, author of Somebody's Daughter

"Reading In Her Bones is like watching a true crime documentary...And you seriously won’t be able to put it down."

– Hello Giggles

"A masterfully crafted, multilayered novel...Kate Moretti manages to cover all the angles, making the story deep and dynamic...In Her Bones is complex, honest and heartbreaking. It is much more than merely a mystery and is well worth reading."

– BookReporter

"Sensational; a stunning psychological thriller that kept me riveted from the first page to the last. A dark and compelling exploration of what it's like to grow up with someone who just may be the worst mother in the world, Moretti's chilling and insightful novel answers the question: If your mother is a serial killer and you're obsessed with her victims, what does that make you?"

– Karen Dionne, internationally bestselling author of The Marsh King's Daughter

"Suspense at its best: A chilling voice, an unlikely heroine, a haunting story. In Her Bones is Kate Moretti at the top of her game." 

– Jessica Strawser, author of Not That I Could Tell

"We dove head-first into In Her Bones, its riveting twists and turns keeping us up well past our bedtime. Moretti has meticulously crafted this gripping mystery, which begs the question: Is it possible to escape our own fate? Another stellar contribution to the suspense genre."  

– Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, authors of The Good Widow

Praise for The Blackbird Season:

"Crime fiction adores girls in trouble. Moretti's latest nail-biter is no exception, but it is exceptional...Though Moretti's emotionally astute tale can be heart-rending, readers won't be able to look away. As slow, creeping dread sets in, so does the inevitability of the terrible situation the town finds itself in, offering a deliciously sinister glimpse into the duplicity of small-town lives and the ease with which people turn on each other when tragedy comes calling. Moretti's tale of jealousy and obsession is nothing less than dark magic. Witchery indeed."

– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A powerful story about a missing girl and an accused suspect that takes a haunting look into the characters and relationships you think you know.  The Blackbird Season explores the fine line between guilt and innocence, truth and perception, the moments that break people apart—and those that bring them together. Riveting and insightful, this is a book that lingers long after you turn the final page.”

– Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls

“With her stunning new novel told through multiple perspectives, Moretti weaves a story that is equal parts suspenseful and chilling. The clear, concise storytelling will draw readers into Nate and Alecia’s journey. The authentic, honest dialogue between Nate, Alecia and Bridget will engage readers as their individual pain and loss is captured. With the strangely haunting character of Lucia, steady pacing and an intricately woven plot, Moretti’s latest will leave its mark on readers.” 

– RT Magazine

"This cautionary tale keeps the reader guessing to the end."

– Publishers Weekly

"The tale’s suspenseful core should catch and hold most readers, especially Gone Girl fans."

– Booklist

"A suspenseful mystery about small-town secrets and scandals."

– PopSugar

"Bestselling author Kate Moretti’s minute attention to the way people's brains shift, how the floodgates of all they've been ignoring or repressing can suddenly open, pushes her novel into something more discomfiting than a saga of small-town sins. An incisive portrait of midlife disappointment and suburban paranoia, wrapped up in a cleverly plotted mystery, The Blackbird Season is an absorbing thriller that lingers long after you put it down."

– BookPage

"Kate Moretti’s insightful, starkly human mystery about a girl they call 'witch' has that sit-down, gotta-cry eloquence readers long for. Mean girl alliances and small town loyalties collapse in unison on the day the blackbirds fall. This story will hold you tight to its pages well past your bedtime. The Blackbird Season is Moretti’s best yet."

– Lisa Turner, Edgar Award finalist author of The Gone Dead Train and Devil Sent the Rain

"The Blackbird Season pulls off a very difficult thing: it's nail-biting and thought-provoking all at once. It's a rare that a book can make you turn pages like your life depends on it, but also give you food for thought because the characters are so perfectly drawn. A stunning achievement from an extremely talented writer."

– Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew

“Moretti spins a tale of suspicion, deceit, and dreams that die as suddenly as a flock of starlings falling from the sky. A thrilling morality tale of the highest order, The Blackbird Season will make you question the lines between right and wrong, victim and criminal, and the unknowable intentions that form our innocence and guilt.”

– Mindy Mejia, author of Everything You Want Me to Be

"Moretti begins The Blackbird Season with a sinister premise — a cloud of birds fall from the sky on the same day a teenage girl people call ‘the witch’ goes missing. A spellbinding tale of long-held secrets and small-town scandal, The Blackbird Season is one of those stories that sneaks up on you, each chapter building steadily to an ending that will haunt you long after you turn the last page."

– Kimberly Belle, bestselling author of The Marriage Lie

"The characters are authentically flawed and believable, and part of the mystery is the unfolding of their motivations…The Blackbird Season is about how people—teens and adults alike—get lost and disconnected. All that, plus a suspenseful mystery—what more can you ask for?"

– Holly Brown, author of Don't Try to Find Me

"When a troubled teenaged girl goes missing in The Blackbird Season, the town in which she lives is ripped apart by suspicion. As disturbing secrets bubble to the surface, no one is safe. Kate Moretti’s trademark vivid characterizations, surprising storyline, and heart-stopping suspense kept me eagerly turning pages long into the night." 

– Carla Buckley, author of The Good Goodbye

The Blackbird Season is more than a haunting mystery; it’s an intense exploration of a family in crisis and a community rocked by scandal. How well can you truly know the ones you love? How far can you trust them? I couldn’t stop reading until I knew the whole and harrowing truth."

– Laura McHugh, award-winning author of The Weight of Blood and Arrowood

"For readers who love small town dynamics where everyone knows everyone else’s business and nothing is what it seems, The Blackbird Season is the perfect novel to pick up this fall."

– Bookish

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