In a quiet New England community members of swim team and their dedicated parents are preparing for a home meet. The most that Annie, a swim-mom of two girls, has to worry about is whether or not she fed her daughters enough carbs the night before; why her husband, Thomas, hasn't kissed her in ages; and why she can't get over the loss of her brother who shot himself a few years ago.
But Annie's world is about to change. From the bleachers, looking down at the swimmers, a dark haired man watches a girl. No one notices him. Annie is busy getting to know Paul, who flirts with Annie despite the fact that he's married to her friend Chris, and despite Annie's greying hair and crow's feet. Chris is busy trying to discover whether or not Paul is really having an affair, and the swimmers are trying to shave milliseconds off their race times by squeezing themselves into skin-tight bathing suits and visualizing themselves winning their races.
When a girl on the team is murdered at a nearby highway rest stop - the same rest stop where Paul made a gruesome discovery years ago - the parents suddenly find themselves adrift. Paul turns to Annie for comfort. Annie finds herself falling in love. Chris becomes obsessed with unmasking the killer.
With a serial killer now too close for comfort, Annie and her fellow swim-parents must make choices about where their loyalties lie. As a series of startling events unfold, Annie discovers what it means to follow your intuition, even if love, as well as lives, could be lost.
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"Starred Review. In Murphy's hands, the structure becomes almost hypnotic - and when the story hits full speed in the final quarter, the suspense becomes almost excruciating." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Murphy's evocation of feverish competition, stressed marriages, and the shocking banality of a serial killer's inner life coalesce in a novel of acute observation, penetrating imagination, and rare agility that is capped by a resounding denouement." - Booklist
"Murphy sometimes recalls the exurban tribulations and titillations of Peter De Vriesâ - albeit without all the puns - in a different sort of murder yarn that boasts twists in both the style and the plot." - Kirkus
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Yannick Murphy is the author of the novels Signed, Mata Hari; Here They Come; and The Sea of Trees, as well as two story collections and several childrens books. She is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and a Chesterfield Screenwriting Award.
Her work has appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading and The O. Henry Prize Stories. She lives in Vermont with her veterinarian husband and their children.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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