Synopses & Reviews
Sometimes it’s easier to believe a lie.
Twenty-five-years ago, the disappearance of four-year-old Justin Manning rocked the small town of Dove Point, Ohio. After his body was found in a shallow grave in the woods two months later, the repercussions were felt for years....
Janet Manning has been haunted by the murder since the day she lost sight of her brother in the park. Now, with the twenty-fifth anniversary of Justin’s death looming, a detective and a newspaper reporter have started to ask questions, opening old wounds and raising new suspicions. Could the man convicted of the murder — who spent more than two decades in prison — really be innocent? Janet’s childhood friend and high school crush, who was in the park with her that day, has returned to Dove Point, where he is wrestling with his own conflicted memories of the events. And a strange man appears at Janet’s door in the middle of the night, claiming to know the truth.
Soon, years of deceit will be swept away, and the truth about what happened to Janet’s brother will be revealed. And the answers that Janet has sought may be found much closer to home than she ever could have imagined.
"Bell follows his 2011 debut, Cemetery Girl, with an artfully constructed tale that charts the devastating, life-changing effects over 25 years on the people most affected by the murder of a four-year-old boy, Justin Manning, in Dove Point, Ohio. Justin's sister, Janet, and playmate Michael Bower, then seven-year-olds, were supposed to look after Justin in the park where he disappeared. A 17-year-old black boy, Dante Rogers, was arrested for the crime, tried as an adult, and served 22 years in prison. When the local newspaper revisits the killing, so perforce do Janet; her father, Bill Manning; her 15-year-old daughter, Ashleigh; and Det. Frank Stynes, who was part of the original investigation. Bower's return to Dove Point and a stranger hinting at new knowledge about Justin's death prove to be catalysts for a total re-examination. The quiet dignity of Rogers, the secrets the Mannings buried with Justin, and the conscience-clearing efforts of Stynes make for a powerful, provocative novel. Agent: Laney Katz Becker, Markson Thoma Literary." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“[Bell] writes with a clarity of both vision and purpose; and his characters are eerily familiar because they are just like you and me.”—Thomas F. Monteleone, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Fearful Symmetries
Praise for Cemetery Girl "Cemetery Girl is a smasher. It twists and turns and never lets go, and...it could happen just this way."—Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End "Cemetery Girl is more than just an utterly compelling thriller—and it certainly is that. David Bell's stellar novel is also a haunting meditation on the ties that bind parent to child, husband to wife, brother to brother—and what survives even under the most shattering possible circumstance. An absolutely riveting, absorbing read not to be missed."—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of Darkness, My Old Friend "Trust me: you have never read a missing persons story like this one....A fast, mean head trip of a thriller that reads like a collaboration between Michael Connelly and the gothic fiction of Joyce Carol Oates, Cemetery Girl is one of those novels that you cannot shake after it's over. A winner on every level."—Will Lavender, New York Times bestselling author of Dominance "Cemetery Girl grabbed me by the throat on page one and never let up. An intense, unrelenting powerhouse of a book, and the work of a master."—John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author of Damage "A smart, tense, creepy take on the story of a missing daughter, told by her far-from-perfect father. If you think you know this tale—from all- too-familiar newspaper accounts, from lesser movies and books--then this terrific novel will make you think otherwise."—Brock Clarke, national bestselling author of Exley and An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England
"[Bell] writes with a clarity of both vision and purpose; and his characters are eerily familiar because they are just like you and me." Thomas F. Monteleone, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Fearful Symmetries
About the Author
David Bell is currently an assistant professor of English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He received an MA in creative writing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a PhD in American literature and creative writing from the University of Cincinnati. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice. His previous novel is Cemetery Girl.