Follow Her Down
June 22, 2024

Book Review

Follow Her Down

reviewed by Carolyn Scott


Detective Tracy Crosswhite has well and truly settled into her new role investigating cold cases. After uncovering a serial killer’s mass grave she’s closed some of the State’s decades long missing persons files.

Twenty-five years ago, when she was ten, Elise Rockwood’s teenage sister Robin disappeared during a summer party in the woods. Believed to have drowned in the river, her body was never found and Elise’s mother developed agoraphobia, refusing to leave the house in case Robin returned. Elise and her older brother Kyle were left to raise themselves as their mother become disconnected from them. 

Kyle is still searching for clues of what happened to Robin and has become paranoid and obsessed with conspiracy theories which Elise is tired of hearing. Some years after Robin disappeared, a local boy committed suicide, leaving behind a confession that he killed Robin, but Kyle refuses to believe he was responsible.

While living in San Francisco, Elise had an affair with a wealthy married tech businessman, Christian Valic. When his wife left him, she allowed herself to fall deeply in love with him but then his wife returned, having decided to try to repair the marriage, and Elise broke off their affair. Licking her wounds, she returned to her home town of Willow Canyon near Tahoe, where she has built up a thriving campsite business, with cabins to let out over the tourist season.

For a while Elise leaned heavily on alcohol to get over her break-up with Christian, but the beauty and peace of the mountain campsite set amongst beautiful woodland and creeks has done much to heal her and keep her sober. Unfortunately, her new, quiet life is disrupted when Christian is found drowned in the same river where Robin disappeared and, after texts from Elise to Christian are found on his phone, Elise becomes the main suspect.

The past and the present collide explosively in this gripping psychological suspense. The gradual slow burn of the build-up sets the scene with Elise and Kyle trying to make sense of what is happening in their own ways. Half way through the novel the tension ramps up as the two mysteries start to coalesce and startling revelations emerge about Robin’s disappearance and Christian’s death. Elise is quite the unreliable narrator and finds herself getting pulled down into Kyle’s dark conspiracy theories. Some suspension of belief may be required as the author weaves current events with those from the past, but the pieces do all fall into place. A totally unexpected ending tops off this intense and compelling murder mystery.

With thanks to Lake Union Publishing via Netgalley for providing a copy of the book.

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