There are dead women behind the Sunset Motel, a motel that rents by the hour. They are carefully posed, and the killer isn’t done yet. This story is told in alternating viewpoints, from those of the Jane Does to Lily, and Clara Voyant, a 16-year-old who lives with her less than stellar aunt, and is good at getting pictures and impressions from people, (and we even get a bit from Luis as well). The Jane Does want to be found, they want to continue their story and have the killer caught, so everyone has a story to tell.
Lily left her job at the art gallery because of her cheating ex, so working at the casino in the spa is something good for the summer while she figures out where she wants to go. Clara wants more from life, mainly to get away from her aunt, who is addicted to drugs, and to find her mother, who has long since disappeared. These two seem like an unlikely duo, but they come together well.
This was a bit of a slow-burn, the laying of the groundwork is intricate and detailed, and it pieces together slowly. You don’t get to the murderer right off, and that’s okay because it works here. There’s a bit of justification going on, that the women were prostitutes, and therefore no one is going to miss them. I think it speaks highly to how we treat (and have always treated) sex workers.
This was a good read, and the storytelling was skillful; I liked the alternating viewpoints and the gradual unfolding of the story. I was poking around reviews and saw quite a few reviewers upset at the ending, and without spoiling anything, I would say it was true to life. There isn’t anything enraging about it, and it suited the storyline perfectly. Nicely done. Thank you Gallery Books for sending this along!