A NovelBook - 2003
Innocence unravels the mysterious tale of a small town's dark past and a current tragedy, which threatens to open old wounds and awaken old ghosts.
Leslie Stone is a private investigator whose specialty is missing children. Her experience has left her haunted by hallucinatory echoes of kids who are not coming back. But when Leslie's own thirteen year-old daughter, Molly, attempts to hire her to find a vanished friend, the echoes start to take their form from Leslie's own troubled childhood. As the search for Molly's friend Lydia gets underway, it becomes apparent that there's much more to the story: a party of eighth graders at Lydia's home got out of hand and has resulted in charges of sexual assault against five thirteen-year-old boys. The once-rural town and now burgeoning suburb of Swifton Woods. Swifton has labored for decades under the stigma of an unsolved series of abductions and rapes of eleven young girls, who came to be known as the Nightingales. An incidental connection between Lydia's party and Swifton's past only fans the public response to an ugly rage. The boys' conviction seems all but inevitable.
Molly, however, knows more than she's telling. In trying to honor a solemn promise while negotiating her inherent sense of right and wrong, she finds herself despised by those she most wants to help. At the same time, Leslie's increasing worry for the depth of Molly's involvement begins to weave into her own secret knowledge of the Nightingales' history. In the end, she is left uncertain of every instinct but the one that demands she protect her child. Even if that means she has to betray her own childhood by telling everything.