Before She Was Helen: A Novel
A teenage girl is raped by her high school basketball coach. Fifty years later, a man vanishes from a retirement community. The link between these two events is a semiretired Latin teacher: Clemmie then, Helen now.
Helen lives in one of three adjoining units in Sun City, South Carolina, and apart from playing cards and hiding her identity, she watches out for her neighbor, Dom, an unpleasant but harmless old man, until he disappears. Helen soon finds herself in the middle of a drug trafficking network, ever fearful that her past will catch up with her. Clemmie’s fifty-year-old story emerges gradually, starting with her rape, moving through the adoption of her baby boy and her desperate attempt to fashion a new life as Helen, and culminating in the re-opening of the investigation into the murder of her rapist.
Before She Was Helen captures well Clemmie’s terror as the basketball coach continues to torment her right up to his death as well as Helen’s struggle to defend herself as the drug dealers circle, and all this set against the amusing, everyday life of the elderly residents of Sun City. This book is highly recommended. A word of warning: do not move into a retirement community if there are old people already in residence, it’s much too dangerous.
|Caroline B. Cooney
|Poisoned Press Press
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|Mystery, Crime, Thriller