Cover image for The night she died
The night she died
Patrick, Jennifer, 1965-
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Publication Information:
New York : Soho, [2004]

Physical Description:
327 pages ; 22 cm
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FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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"A remarkable achievement . . . compelling . . . Ms. Patrick deserves the praise readers will heap on this work."-Terry Kay, The Valley of Light Seventeen-year-old Sterling O'Connor works at the local Dairy Queen in a small town in Georgia. With his bleached-out hair and multiple piercings, smart, edgy Sterling has already cut a swathe through the local high school "talent." One day a stranger walks in, an older woman from up north-Washington, D.C. His attraction to Lara is instant and all-consuming. To 30-year-old Lara, he is just a kid with a crush. But he does have something going for him. Alone, and a stranger in town, Lara finds herself spending time with Sterling as well as Eric, who runs the record store. She buys an old Victorian house and hires Sterling to help fix it up. As they become closer, she becomes increasingly drawn to him. Rumors about her relationships with both men soon begin to circulate and tensions between the three of them escalate. When Lara is found shot to death in her bedroom, Sterling is the prime suspect.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Lara Walton, devastated by the sudden death of her lover in an automobile accident, leaves Washington, D.C., and drives until her car breaks down in Barton County, Georgia. Once there, Lara decides to buy a run-down Victorian, but she never becomes a part of the community. Young Sterling O'Connor, who works at the local Dairy Queen, is smitten with the older woman and offers to help her renovate the house. As a skateboarder with multiple piercings, he doesn't fit into the community either, which helps make him the prime suspect when Lara turns up dead. Captainames Edgars, who left the Atlanta Police Department to escape the high crime rate, is investigating his first murder in eight years. Determining the truth in a small town where rumor is the major form of communication proves daunting, but Edgars is up to the task. Patrick effectively captures the oppressiveness of the hot Georgia summer (shades of Tennessee Williams) and the insular southern community. Readers will enjoy the clash of personal dilemmas and small-town culture. --Barbara Bibel Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Love leads to murder in this moody, luminous debut set in modern-day Georgia. Grief stricken by the sudden death of her boyfriend in an auto accident, 30-year-old green-eyed beauty Lara Walton heads south from her Washington, D.C., home, hoping to leave unhappiness behind. Soon after her car breaks down near the sleepy town of Winston, she glimpses a dilapidated old Victorian she immediately decides to buy. "I'll take care of you. Don't worry," Lara says to the walls of the empty house. Readers of fellow Southerners Carson McCullers and Pat Conroy will revel in the sensuality and foreboding of Patrick's gracefully rendered scenes. Seeking a cool respite from the oppressive Georgia summer, Lara stops in at Winston's local Dairy Queen, where she locks eyes with 17-year-old Sterling O'Connor, whose punk haircut and sharp tongue set him apart from the town's doe-eyed teenagers and fading Southern belles. When Lara hires the young man to help fix up her house, it's clear that each has more than repair on their minds. Lara's nosy neighbor, Pam Grier, and her volatile husband, Dave, who's the city's district attorney, sense something inappropriate about the relationship, and when Lara is found shot to death in her home, Sterling is among the prime suspects. Also questioned is Eric Teague-bachelor, local record store owner and a father figure to Sterling, who lives with his single mother and twin sisters in a run-down part of town. Teague, it seems, had designs on Lara, too. The plot shifts between present and past as former Atlanta police captain Jimmy Edgars tackles the town's first murder in many years. Blending romance and intrigue, this is a compelling portrait of a tight-knit Southern community where scandal ignites the imagination, blurring the boundaries between rumor and truth. Agent, Jacky Sach. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved