Cover image for Body of a girl
Body of a girl
Stewart, Leah, 1973-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 2000.
Physical Description:
311 pages ; 24 cm
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X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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"The secret at its heart will astonish you." --Manette Ansay, author of Vinegar HillIn Memphis, where the heat clings heavy like a second skin, it has been a summer of murders. Olivia Dale's job as a novice crime reporter is at once surreal--stepping in and out of strangers' lives with her notebook--and all too real. As she looks down on the twisted body of a young woman who has been kidnapped and gruesomely killed, she wonders if she could have been that girl. After all, as she chases a lead story, she discovers that Allison Avery--so all-American, so like Olivia in age and looks--was just like her except wilder. Drawn deep into the shadows and secrets of Allison's life, Olivia becomes caught up in exploring her own wild side and finds herself seduced by a perilous world where her life may be in danger. Hypnotic, compelling, and gorgeously written, Body of a Girl is a "must" summer read

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The summer Southern thriller has become an industry clich‚, and this novel outwardly cleaves to the formÄa plucky Memphis crime reporter investigates a grisly murder, rubs shoulders with local lowlifes and even participates in a drunken showdown on Beale Street. But debut author Stewart crafts a novel more serious and sensitive than the average whodunit. Olivia Dale, a young, dedicated reporter who works the police beat despite the protests of her protective boyfriend, tackles the story of recently raped and murdered Allison Avery, who worked as a nursing tech in a medical clinic and dreamed of becoming a rock singer. As Olivia interviews Allison's family and friends, she begins to identify with her subject, who emerges as a bright, funny woman with a physical resemblance to Olivia. Captivated by the case, Olivia starts to imagine herself the murder victim. She carries on a dangerous flirtation with Allison's young brother, dances with Allison's obsessive ex-boyfriend and is tempted to experiment with the drugs that may have played a role in Allison's death. Olivia's fixation gives Stewart the opportunity to comment on the blurry line between reality and reporting, and on the frightening realization that crime can strike at random. Yet in defusing the mystery of Allison's death, and focusing instead on Olivia's inner life, Stewart neglects to provide a satisfying conclusion to the unsolved murder. As a result, even the evocation of Memphis's sweltering summer heat can't bring Stewart's tale to a rolling boil. Agent, Gordon Kato. Author tour. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Although she is only 25, Memphis crime reporter Olivia Dale thinks she has developed the toughness necessary to interview victims and view crime scenesDuntil she sees the body of a raped and murdered girl named Allison who shares her age, facial features, and lifestyle. Olivia tries to get inside Allison's mind and life and ends up crossing all the boundaries reporters need to keep between themselves and their stories. Olivia's search takes her from the tony world of Allison's parents to the steamy dregs of Memphis bars and drug dens. She endangers her relationships with her lover, her roommate, and her colleagues and risks her own life as she delves deeper into Allison's wild life and sordid death. This well-written first novel from Stewart, associate editor at Double Take magazine, makes the reader feel the stickiness of a Memphis summer. Olivia is a brash, funny, irreverent, and likable character. Recommended for public libraries.DKaren Anderson, Superior Court Law Lib., Phoenix (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.