Blameless: A Novel
"The night turned blacker and colder. I switched off the car radio. I had a home to go to. I had locks on my doors. But just outside were dark hungry shapes that had once had names like Hero or Jack. Muzzles that used to nudge someone's hand for a pat now sniffed the air for prey. People walked away from the things they were responsible for, like those things weren't going to come back in the middle of the night and tear your throat open. I rolled up the window against the chill. Lit another cigarette with my head pounding like a kettledrum. The Merc rolled toward home."
Mary Culpepper is a strong woman, fearless and independent to a fault. But when she discovers the body of a child in her small northern Michigan town, she suffers a breakdown that has family and friends treating her like "sulfuric acid about to spatter." In the following months Mary does all she can to keep her mind off the upcoming trial, in which she will have to tell what she did--and did not--witness. It's a time when she most needs her best friend, Amy, whose history of lies and betrayal Mary is not willing to face. As the trial looms closer, and Mary's past catches up to her, not even the heated passion of an illicit affair can fend off the presence of the Night Visitor, a monster of stone and silence who destroys her sleep.
One young girl has already been sacrificed to the Culpepper legacy of willful blindness. Now another girl lies in the path of danger, another girl about to suffer the consequences of someone choosing to shut her eyes and remain blameless. But when Mary attempts to break the chain of betrayal, the resulting explosion could destroy all that she has sought to protect.
Following "BillyDead, which Alice Munro called a "brave, heart-wrenching debut," Blameless combines the emotional resonance of Sue Miller's The Good Mother with the gripping suspense of Chris Bohjalian's Midwives. A story of tender humor, violent passion, and a fierce exploration of moral accountability, it will pull you in, unable to look away until its last unforgettable page.