A compelling fictional story that follows the lives of three different women in the wake of a school shooting.
Moira Summers, the mother of Ryan Summers, who on May 14th walked into his college and shot 13 girls before turning the gun on himself.
Ishbel Hodgekiss, the mother of Abigail Hodgekiss, the first girl to be shot by Ryan Summers.
DI Helen Birch, lead investigator in the Three Rivers College Shooting.
The story is told from the point of view of all three women, from the day before to several weeks after, leading the reader through the thoughts, sleepless nights, family upset and the difficulties that emerge from such a sudden and violent incident.
I was uncertain, to start with, as to whether this book would hold my interest. The subject matter is quite upsetting but the behind-the-scenes insight into the police enquiry, the bereaved families and the unknown answers really made me stop and think about how I would cope in this situation, whether it was as a victim’s relative, the mother of the murderer, or as a support worker to the family. I’ll admit I tried not to dwell on any of these thoughts for too long and could actually relate, in part, to the two mothers. As a mother of two boys (11 & 13) I know that they can plug into whatever screen is currently at hand and not talk to you for hours, sometimes only appearing when their tummies tell them to. It is difficult to find the right balance between overbearing, nosy and intrusive, and giving them space, privacy and, most importantly, trust.
The end of the book really got to me. Lots of secrets are revealed from all three women during the course of the story but for me it was the last chapter. I’m not sure it would have made any difference. I think that if someone has worked that hard and been that focused on doing what Ryan did, then nothing is going to stop them.
I would just like to say that I don’t know why Ishbel stayed with that complete idiot (polite word!) and to do what he did at the vigil, I think I would have ripped his eyes out!
This is a fact: Ryan Summers walked into Three Rivers College and killed thirteen women, then himself.
But no one can say why.
The question is one that cries out to be answered – by Ryan’s mother, Moira; by Ishbel, the mother of Abigail, the first victim; and by DI Helen Birch, put in charge of the case on her first day at her new job. But as the tabloids and the media swarm, as the families’ secrets come out, as the world searches for someone to blame… the truth seems to vanish.