I downloaded this book because I couldn't resist the gorgeous cover and Julia Heaberlin is one of my favourite authors.
Ten years ago the town's sweetheart Trumanell Branson disappeared, leaving only a bloody hand-print behind. The townsfolk always believed her brother Wyatt had something to do with it and he's now become a recluse. Odette was once Wyatt's best friend and even she isn't entirely sure of his innocence. So when she discovers that he has a young girl at his house, that he says he 'found' at the side of the road, it's hard for Odette not to assume the worst.
The story is told from three points of view: Wyatt's, when he finds a young girl lying asleep in a field surrounded by a ring of dandelions; Odette's, as she tries to discover the girl's identity but finds herself becoming obsessed with the murder of Trumanell instead; and the teenage Angie, who arrives in the small Texas town determined to discover the truth behind the mystery.
I love Julia Heaberlin's novels because they never go in quite the way you think. We Are All the Same in the Dark has a huge twist in the middle (which I hated) but it does give the story a unique edge. It's not a fast-paced thriller, more of a slow-burn mystery, with each clue revealed in a careful 'blink and you'll miss it' kind of way. The author takes the time to build up a deliciously creepy atmosphere, until you're convinced every character is the murderer! Halfway through I was so worried I admit I took a peek at the end. (Don't do this!!!) I'm not sure if I would have guessed the outcome if I hadn't known it in advance.
We Are All the Same in the Dark has an almost gothic feel with some super-scary scenes (the very claustrophobic stuck-in-a-barn-during-a-tornado scene), particularly towards the nail-biting finish. As with the author's earlier novels, I loved the quirky characters, especially Wyatt and Odette. I even warmed towards Rusty towards the end.
I'd recommend We Are All the Same in the Dark to anyone who loves slow-burn psychological suspense populated with eccentric characters. I can also see it appealing to fans of Lisa Jewell and Ruth Ware. This was a five-star read for me.
Thank you to Julia Heaberlin and Michael Joseph (Penguin UK) for my copy of this book, which I requested from NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.