One more semester. Just a few final months to go before the end of college and the next phase in Betsy's life. But the semester is not off to a great start. After crashing all summer in her friends' apartment, Betsy has become a third wheel.
She, Ginny, and Caroline met at rush and have been friends ever since, but things between Caroline and Betsy have become more than strained. Things were fine while Caroline was gone for the summer, but now she's back and things are weird as ever. To make matters worse, Gainesville has become the new stomping grounds for an apparent serial killer. In a town full of women, it's unlikely any of the three will ever cross his path. Or so they think.
Twenty years later, Betsy still hasn't recovered from the death of her friend. She's overly cautious and afraid of letting her daughter out of her sight. Things aren't helped when she receives an invite from a sorority sister to attend their twenty year reunion. If she's ever to move on with her life, it appears she'll have to face the horrors of her final months in Florida.
The Drifter wasn't quite what I expected. It's being compared to Megan Abbott and M.O. Walsh, the latter of which is actually a pretty perfect comparison in retrospect.
As with Walsh's debut, The Drifter is less a thriller than an examination of how events shape our lives. We're introduced to Betsy in 2010 as her daughter is beginning preschool, and it's clear that Betsy has issues. She's obsessed with background checks and security at the school and is even caught lurking outside. But what the school doesn't know is that Betsy's fear is grounded in a very real and tragic event - her best friend's murder.
Cut to 1990 and everything is apparently, mostly, hunky dory. Betsy is carefree and happy, somewhat. Yes, the trio of friends is experiencing a rocky patch, but all is fairly normal. Except that two women have been murdered in their little college town.
While we do get some chapters beyond Betsy's final months in college, much of the story is focused between August 22 and August 30, or the days leading up to the murder of one of Betsy's friends. From there, it's clear her life could only be influenced by that event. Understandably.
From the description, I definitely did expect more of a thriller. And while The Drifter certainly has thriller leanings and aspects, it's more a coming of age tale about a woman whose life is affected by a great tragedy. It's also about healing from, and dealing with the guilt of, that event.
To that end, The Drifter is not necessarily paced like a thriller. There's much more introspection and examination of the time leading up to the event. (As is the case with Walsh's title, hence the apt comparison.) And by honing in on the tiny details that make up the days leading up to and even beyond the crime in question, Lennon really gives readers a chance to get inside Betsy's life and mind. To experience the emotions and the uncertainty of those final days of college, the testiness of a close friendship, and the tragedy of loss.
The book is set at an interesting time, in my opinion. 1990 did mark a significant change from the 80s. There was a different feel to everything: fashion, music, movies... I may be biased because I lived through it, but I'd say anyone my age likely feels the same. To set the tone, Lennon created a Spotify playlist. I highly recommend listening along as you read as it really does create a great mood for the book. You can also check out a great guest post by Lennon over at BookClubGirl.com.
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To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.
For more on Christine Lennon and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram.
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