A young police officer named Odette believes she can help her Texas hometown solve two crimes: the decade-old cold case of a missing young woman—who happens to have been her childhood friend— and the more recent mystery of a mute and apparently lost teenage girl discovered in town.
Heaberlin... has the sort of amused but unsentimental affection for Texas that natives can readily recognize as the real thing. You can hear it in her characters’ voices ... Though the novel’s narrator shifts, the focus of Heaberlin’s story never moves far from the scarred but strong women who are its core. They can pick locks, shoot a gun, cuddle a toddler, love, lie and flat-out surprise you. Heaberlin knows how to build to a truly shocking twist, how to break a reader’s heart and then begin mending it.
Heaberlin...keeps her plotting tight, and introduces just enough red herrings to keep readers guessing. Even with no shortage of suspects...the solution makes perfect sense but still comes as something of a surprise. Her flinty prose and first-person narration lend the novel an appropriately urgent tone. Both heroines are plucky and resourceful, but fallible and insecure, each laser-focused on bringing the truth to light despite some pretty steep consequences ... This author has a definite feel for the stifling atmosphere of many small Texas towns, where toxic secrets can fester for years and dreams can scatter like so many dandelion seeds.
This is a slow burn mystery, with a gothic feel ... The story is told primarily from Odette’s point of view but we also see things from the perspectives of Wyatt and Angel. This gives us a more comprehensive view of the events taking place, allowing the reader to be fully immersed in the narrative. And what I mean by immersion is actually confusion. Angel makes a poor narrator initially, since she tends to be more cryptic than enlightening. That situation isn’t alleviated until at least forty percent into the book ... Odette’s fatigue and the demoralized perplexity she feels regarding Wyatt and Angel lend the text a lethargic, almost sluggish ambience at the start of the book. It isn’t until we reach the halfway mark that the narrative pacing starts to match that of a typical mystery. Since the book is billed as a thriller, I initially struggled with the languorous nature of the prose. Fortunately, the second half of the story, told from Angel’s point of view, picks up speed and provides the missing sense of immediate menace that the first portion lacks. It turned what had been an almost literary style of mystery into a page turner and provided a very satisfying ending. Ms. Heaberlin is an excellent wordsmith who captures perfectly the sense of a town on the edge of implosion, a tired justice warrior, and the expertly drawn cast of disturbing but intriguing supporting characters who make We Are All the Same in the Dark an interesting look at the ominous currents that lie below the surface of any human gathering. I strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys small town Southern mysteries.