This is a heart-breaking story about two families living in Muskegon, Michigan, each with a daughter, the Boggs family and the Krause family. The daughters are Shauna and Beth. Shauna Boggs mother ran out on her and her father when Shauna was a little girl. Soon the father, Troy, was having Shauna try on the clothes that the mom had left behind. Before too very long, Troy had Shauna try on her mother’s wedding dress, and then he took her to his bed. To say that Shauna grew up with some problems is probably an understatement, but those problems are largely left to the reader’s imagination, though we do know that she becomes a prostitute.
The other family consists on the mother, Dotsy, the father, the Lt. Colonel, and little Beth Krause. Beth is a dreamer and good girl—until she meets Jeff and falls for him and vice-versa. Trouble is, Jeff has been sleeping with Shauna.
One very cold night, a snow-plow driver discovers Beth’s body by the side of the road. She’s been murdered. The local police are stumped in the case, and pretty soon, it seems that Beth has been forgotten. Thirty years later, though, a group of college students decide to make a documentary about the unsolved murder, and they go to Muskegon and begin asking questions.
The students open old wounds, and before very long, we find out what actually happened to Beth Krause, how she was murdered, who was responsible, and the knowledge is chilling.
This novel is written in quite an extraordinary style. Portes refuses to be confined to one point of view, switching back and forth from character to character. That in itself is not too surprising; it’s what she does when she enters each character’s consciousness that is so compelling.