Ripley Jones’ Lacking Clarissa is a gripping novel about two mates who begin a true-crime podcast―with harmful penalties. Take a look at Doreen Sheridan’s evaluate!
Regardless of their seeming variations, eccentric woman genius Cam Muñoz and the gorgeous however academically common Blair Johnson have been finest mates for the reason that sixth grade. Now that they’re of their junior yr of highschool, Cam has satisfied Blair to take a journalism class collectively. Mr Park, their journalism trainer, is the neatest particular person Cam has ever met, and thus one of many only a few whose opinion issues to her. When he provides their class a semester-long reporting mission that they’ll do with or with out companions, she thinks she’s provide you with the proper plan to wow not solely him however everybody else of their small city, if not the world.
Twenty years in the past, lovely, common Clarissa Campbell disappeared from their Oregon city of Oreville after a post-high college commencement social gathering. The case gained nationwide protection, however no hint of Clarissa was ever discovered. The prime suspect was her soccer star boyfriend Brad Bennett, however with no proof towards him or anybody else, nobody was ever charged with foul play involving her disappearance.
Now Cam thinks that she and Blair ought to accomplice as much as make a podcast investigating what actually occurred to Clarissa. Her enthusiasm steamrolls Blair into agreeing, however Mr. Park is extra cautious on the topic, main the 2 very completely different women to 2 very completely different reactions:
Why’s he grilling them? Why isn’t he excited? Cam doesn’t get it. Blair kicks her beneath her desk, however she barges forward. “Do we want [podcast experience]? All we’ve to do is hit Report and put it on-line.”
Mr. Park’s face is unimaginable to learn. “Understand that’s a delicate situation for lots of people right here. Tread rigorously. And also you would possibly wish to do a little bit of analysis into podcasting earlier than you ‘hit Report and put it on-line.’”
“Sure, Mr. Park,” Blair says earlier than Cam can argue. Cam slumps again in her seat, the air round her crackling with fury and harm.
Tread rigorously? thinks Cam. What’s that presupposed to imply? What’s fallacious with Mr. Park?
Tread rigorously? thinks Blair. What does Mr. Park know that we don’t?
Whereas their temperaments are dissimilar, the ladies’ personalities complement one another properly as they go about digging into the chilly case. Sadly, their variations generally threaten to overwhelm them, as when Cam decides to go forward and submit their first episode on-line with out even getting Blair’s permission, a lot much less Mr Park’s okay. When the ladies come manner too near discovering the reality about somebody who very a lot doesn’t wish to be came upon, they discover themselves in mortal peril. Will they be silenced earlier than they’ll inform the world the reality about what occurred to Clarissa?
This can be a actually well-written story that stands head and shoulders above the remainder of the podcast thriller crowd—Younger Grownup or in any other case. Cam and Blair are each extremely endearing, and are characterised so completely that when certainly one of them does one thing horrifyingly silly and harmful—as sure suspense heroines will do—it feels solely natural and never only a gadget to advance the plot. The pacing is quick and the dialog typically laugh-out-loud humorous, even because the seriousness of the scenario is rarely taken frivolously.
In truth, the American media obsession with the disappearance of fairly white women is taken to process in additional methods than one. Sophie, one of many women’ journalism classmates, has her personal fervent opinion on the matter:
“You’re obsessive about Clarissa’s story, the identical manner so many different persons are. However you already know who includes the very best proportion of homicide victims? Younger Black males. Weaponizing tales of imperiled white girls serves to implement political repression. The jail industrial advanced isn’t concerned about defending individuals from hurt. It’s based on the precept of harming people who find themselves already weak. All these useless white woman tales? All this fixation on sexualized violence towards white girls? These narratives normalize constructions of oppression that don’t do something to stop extra violence from occurring.”
Lacking Clarissa is a wildly entertaining novel with a beautiful sense of self-awareness relating to its personal place within the canon. The thriller is as sensible as Cam and as strong as Blair, with a robust streak of recent philosophy on social justice and accountability. I beloved it.
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