“Nobody tells you that you’ll do things when you’re young that are so stupid, so unbelievably stupid, so horrifically stupid that years later you won’t be able to believe it.”
What Allie Garvey and her friends did 20 years ago was play a game of Russian Roulette, killing one of the teens. They had been drinking and didn’t know there was one bullet in the gun. Rather than stay and take responsibility, they fled their hideout in the woods and kept silent. After the police declared the death a suicide, the young people went on with their lives, but those lives were forever changed.
Popular mystery writers are under increased pressure from their fans to turn out book after book. Quality, however, can suffer with too many plots becoming formulaic and the characters never fully fleshed out. That never seems to happen with Lisa Scottoline. Her series featuring a cast of female lawyers living in Philadelphia remains fresh. And when she writes a stand alone, it’s a stand out.
Someone Knows opens with Allie returning home to attend a funeral. One of the teens present on that fateful night has chosen death by suicide. We don’t learn the identity of the deceased until the end of the book. What we do know, however, is that Allie and the others have never recovered.
After that short introduction, we go back 20 years, the narrative alternating among the various participants in the drama. Besides academic pressures, each teen is dealing with a difficult family situation. Allie’s older sister, Jill, died after battling cystic fibrosis, leaving her mother in a deep depression and her father attempting to hold the family together. Queen Bee Sasha Barrow is being raised by servants, her parents constantly traveling. Julian Browne’s parents are divorced, his wealthy father dating a string of younger women while his mother smoothers him with attention. David Hybrinski’s father is on the verge of bankruptcy, which would result in the loss of their family home. And Kyle Gallagher and his mother are living under assumed names, trying to get past the shame of a physician father who was convicted of abusing young female patients.
The teens live in a residential community called Brandywine Commons, some homes more upscale than others. Except for Kyle, they attend the same school and, if not best friends, find enough opportunities to hang out together. A bond is forged when Julian and David find a gun buried in the woods. The discovery excites Sasha who encourages Julian to get some bullets so they can go shooting. Just looking at the gun frightens Allie and she’s horrified when Sasha attempts to shoot a squirrel. But because she has a crush on David, she agrees not to tell anyone about the discovery.
Coming back to Brandywine Commons after two decades rekindles in Allie a need to find out who loaded the gun. Searching for the truth, however, will place not only her but someone she loves in danger. Scottoline keeps the tension up and throws in several plot twists and surprises at the end.
Besides being an engaging read, Someone Knows provides much food for thought. Young people make mistakes, some more serious than others. There are often no do-overs. And there may be no forgiveness. There’s much food for thought here and much to share with the young people in your life.
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