A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Monday, April 6, 2020

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf- Feature and Review


A gripping thriller about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence .

For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover--movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.

Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora--and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted--not even those closest to Cora.

Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe--even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.



Before She Was FoundBefore She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf is a 2019 Park Row publication.

Riveting, all consuming suspense!

Almost a year after its release, I finally got around to reading this one! I was immediately sucked into this story and it held my undivided attention from start to finish.

The story is centered around three twelve-year old girls, with various backgrounds, who have a fragile friendship with one another. Cora is a naïve girl who only wants to fit in, Violet is the new kid on the block, and Jordyn, is a bossy, manipulative girl, being raised by her grandfather.

The three girls, after some ups and downs, get together for a sleepover, then decide to sneak out and visit an old abandoned rail yard. If that weren’t dangerous enough, something goes terribly awry that night and Cora ends up in the hospital with life threatening injuries.

What happened to Cora? Who would hurt such an innocent, sheltered young girl?

There is nothing quite as brutal as middle grade angst- especially with girls. This novel explores the trials of adolescence, as a police investigation into Cora’s violent attack exposes closely held secrets and different family dynamics.

The mystery is compelling, and is quite the guessing game- but don't bother trying to figure it out, because it's impossible.

The author employs various tools to tell this absorbing and horrifying tale, including diaries, internet chat rooms, text messaging, and police interviews, and is told from various points of view. While that may sound like the book is too busy, it is an effective approach and works quite well in this situation.

The catalyst behind the events that transpire begins with a school assignment, and leads to an obsession over an old murder case with an urban legend surrounding it. If this sounds eerily familiar to you, it could be because this book is allegedly based on a true crime case with similar elements.

The plot twists are truly surprising, and I was taken completely off guard by how everything turned out in the end. While this is a very creepy, atmospheric novel of suspense, it is also a thought-provoking and disturbing story, with a very unsettling conclusion…






Heather Gudenkauf is the critically acclaimed author of several novels, including the New York Times bestseller The Weight of Silence. She lives in Iowa with her family.

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