Elizabeth L. Silver
First lines: In this world, you are either good or evil. If not, then a court or a teacher or a parent is bound to tag your identity before you’ve had a chance to figure it out on your own. The gray middle ground, that mucous-thin terrain where most of life resides, is really only a temporary annex, like gestation or purgatory.
In the first 50 pages of this book, we meet Noa, Oliver Stansted, a young lawyer, and Marlene Dixon, the mother of the woman Noa was convicted of killing. In flashbacks we also meet Noa’s mother and some childhood acquaintances.
Noa P. Singleton is on death row for the murder of Sarah (and Sarah’s child?). It has been ten years since the murder. She was found guilty and sentenced to death. Sarah’s mother, Marlene, spoke movingly at her sentencing about the need for the death penalty in the case. Noa does not seem particularly repentant. She seems like a hardened con. She has so far avoided giving an explanation for why she killed Sarah.
We also learn a bit about Noa’s upbringing. She was raised by a single mother, an actress, who was involved in a string of relationships. She has a half-brother from one of those relationships. They were a middle class family, living in California. Noa graduated salutatorian of her high school and briefly attended the University of Pennsylvania. She dropped out after an emergency abortion and partial hysterectomy during her first semester.
After the first 50 pages, I am somewhat intrigued about where this is going, but I also wonder if it is ultimately going to piss me off. I feel like a late plot reveal twist is coming, and I wonder how satisfying it will really be.