All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers Review – Fantastic Debut
Wow, what can I say about this book, other than it’s fantastic. If you don’t have this book on your radar, you should. I read this as part of my ABC Reading Challenge, for the letter “A”. It was also my first read of 2023 and I give it a solid 5 🌟 rating.
I am not surprised that a woman whose career is talking about true-crime stories would write a book like this. It very much mirrors one of the most sensationalized, talked about, news stories from the past 30 years. I won’t say which one because I don’t want to spoil anything, although it’s pretty obvious.
The book is set in small town Wakarusa, Indiana. A population of around 2,000 people. The location is absolutely perfect for this story, it has that small town feel, where everyone knows everyone else and their business. It’s hard to keep your secrets hidden in a close knit community, and in All Good People Here, this secret has been kept for 25 years.
The story alternates between 2 timelines, there is Krissy in 1994 and Margot in 2019. Krissy is the mother of January. Margot is a reporter who grew up across the street from January and has moved back to town to take care of her ailing uncle, who has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Not long after Margot arrives back in town, another girl goes missing from a neighboring town and she wonders if that case is connected to January’s, unsolved case. Following her journalistic intuition, she does what she does best, and uses her skills to see if she can attempt to solve both cases.
Will she be able to finally solve her friend’s 25-year-old murder, what town secrets will she uncover along the way, all while taking care of her sick uncle. Her life and the citizens of the town’s life may be forever changed after this.
Synopsis from goodreads.com:
"Everyone from Wakarusa, Indiana, remembers the case of January Jacobs, who was found dead in a ditch hours after her family awoke to find her gone. Margot Davies was six at the time, the same age as January—and they were next-door neighbors. In the twenty years since, Margot has grown up, moved away, and become a big-city journalist, but she’s always been haunted by the fear that it could’ve been her. And the worst part is, January’s killer has never been brought to justice.
When Margot returns home to help care for her sick uncle, it feels like walking into a time capsule. Wakarusa is exactly how she remembered: genial, stifled, secretive. Then news breaks about five-year-old Natalie Clark from the next town over, who’s gone missing under eerily similar circumstances. With all the old feelings rushing back, Margot vows to find Natalie and solve January’s murder once and for all.
But the police, the family, the townspeople—they all seem to be hiding something. And the deeper Margot digs into Natalie’s disappearance, the more resistance she encounters, and the colder January’s case feels. Could the killer still be out there? Could it be the same person who kidnapped Natalie? And what will it cost to finally discover what truly happened that night?"
I was very impressed with this debut novel, and I hope Ashley Flowers continues to write. She definitely has what it takes to be a great storyteller. The book hooked me from the very beginning, and when it ended, I wanted more. I found the story to be fast-paced with just the right number of characters. Every character fits into the story in some way. The story was exciting and thrilling, and some parts were downright chilling. I usually read before I went to sleep and one night I had told myself, just one more chapter, but that chapter ended on such an unsettling note that I had to push myself to read one more. The chapters were the appropriate length and often had little cliffhangers at the end, I just love those. The twists were plentiful, and the end was utterly shocking. You may think you have it figured out, but trust me, you won’t.