In the seaside town of Kinlough, on Ireland's west coast, three old friends are thrown together for the first time in years. They—Helen, Joe, and Mush—were part of an original group of six inseparable teenagers in the summer of 2003, with motherless, reckless Kala Lanann as their group's white-hot center. Soon after that summer's peak, Kala disappeared without a trace. Now it's fifteen years later, and human remains have been discovered in the woods. Two more girls have gone missing. And as past and present begin to collide, the estranged friends are forced to confront their own complicity in the events that led to Kala's disappearance.
A master class in building suspense ... Walsh manages a deft balance between adolescent angst and ecstasy — discoveries bringing horror, sorrow and joy — and the more deliberate, often elegiac reflections of adulthood, reckoning with the promises of the past ... With revelation upon revelation, their ordinariness seems all the more mysterious, and this first-time novelist all the more masterly at writing in such an original voice.
It is no pleasure to rake over a debut. But a book billed as a publisher’s 'lead novel' demands scrutiny. Was everyone at Atlantic truly wowed by Kala? ... Walsh’s plot is clunky and in places incoherent.
A stonkingly good read, especially if you’re looking for something gripping, pacy and plot-driven without necessarily wanting to reduce yourself to the obvious middlebrow choices offered by the best-seller lists ... There’s no doubt that, as with almost all crime thrillers, there are moments when the plotting stretches ever so slightly too far ... His ability to evoke the private moments between the girls – the words they use, their ways of seeing one another, even how they do their hair and make-up – is especially enjoyable to read ... Walsh’s penchant for finding every possible new way to describe the sky aside, this is a masterful reworking of the whodunnit, one you’ll have immense difficulty putting down.