All Good People Here: a journalist in a small town peels back the layers of secrets it hides

What is this about?

Margot has returned to her hometown to take care of her uncle Luke, who has developed dementia. Actually, it’s not really mentioned what he has, only that he is losing his memory for the most basic of tasks. But, when she loses her job as a journalist, she finds herself in dire straits and gives herself two weeks to prove that a young girl who has recently gone missing is linked to another young girl’s disappearance years before. And those, are linked to the death of her friend decades before.

What else is this about?

Written by Ashley Flowers, the host of Crime Junkie, there are elements that will be familiar from discussions had in the podcast, but you don’t need to know all that to enjoy this book.

Blurb

What really happened to January Jacobs?

A MYSTERIOUS COLD CASE…
Twenty-five years ago, January Jacob’s parents awoke to find their daughter’s bed empty, a horrifying message spray-painted onto their wall. Hours later, January’s body was found discarded in a ditch. Her murder was never solved. But the town remembers.

A DANGEROUS OBSESSION…
Journalist Margot Davies is tired of reporting meaningless stories. One night, she stumbles upon a clue in the most infamous crime in her hometown’s history: the unsolved murder of six-year-old January.

A TOWN FULL OF SECRETS…
As Margot digs deeper, she begins to suspect that there is something truly sinister lurking in the small community: a secret that endangers the lives of everyone involved…including Margot.

A gripping, twisty thriller for fans of cold crime cases – from the #1 CRIME JUNKIE podcast host Ashley Flowers.

While trying to find out if Alaina Urquhart’s book, The Butcher and the Wren, had been released, I stumbled on to All Good People Here. What tickled me no end was that Alaina Urquhart is the host of Morbid, another true crime podcast I listen to, and Ashley Flowers is the host of Crime Junkie, the podcast that got me hooked on true crime podcasts in the first place!

Which in short means, this is me:

Happy So Excited GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

So, All Good People Here: Margot returns to her hometown to take care of her Uncle Luke, but when she does she is fired from her job as a journalist, and finds herself stuck: she needs to take care of her uncle, who may need extra help. Her savings will only last so long, and there are other bills to pay.

To make all this happen, Margot gives herself a deadline of two weeks to solve the mystery of Natalie Clark’s disappearance, who she is convinced is linked to Polly Limon’s murder, another case from years before. Margot had been obsessed with that case, convinced it had something to do with her best friend’s murder from decades before: January Jones, a 6-year-old who was found dead in a ditch.

Margot has been obsessed with January’s death for good reason — they were best friends. But her death has also infiltrated parts of Margot’s life that it shouldn’t for example, asked by her editor to write an article about Natalie Clark’s disappearance, she turns in an anniversary piece about January instead, and is promptly fired.

Solving the case and proving the link to January’s case is all she has left to prove to everyone she’s right.

At the same time that she starts investigating the case/s, Margot has to deal with her Uncle Luke’s condition and deterioration. She is devastated that the man she loves, her surrogate father is disappearing in front of her eyes, and she doesn’t know how to take care of him. She tries, of course, but in investigating the case, she discovers it isn’t as easy to juggle both.

The investigation takes her into the history of January’s family — to her parents and her brother. As she investigates, the book breaks into a different timeline, chronicalling how January’s parents, Krissy and Billy, met and got married, and how their marriage disintegrated.

Recently, I find in books with dual timelines, I tend to like one over the other, but these timelines were both compelling and devstating for what they revealed about Margot’s investigation that makes her question everything, including her Uncle Luke and Krissy and Billy’s lives. Is it perhaps because I was listening to this as an audiobook? And it was easier to differentiate between the two timelines or the characters seemed more distinct and beloning in different timelines? I’m not sure, but either I way I was hooked.

Girl Read GIF by Lobster Studio - Find & Share on GIPHY
Me reading but actually listening to this audio.

There are elements here that reminded me of the podcast: Krissy who is immediately focused on in the aftermath of January’s death, never acting the way people expected her to, and suffering in the public eye because of it. Billy was the sympathetic one, of course, and no one knew how he was never really there for his wife, or his kids. Or people who so easily made assumptions about Krissy int he aftermath of January’s death, making her life hell and years after her suicide, abruptly changing their minds because of what is revealed during Margot’s investigation.

Flowers’ storytelling takes a leap forward in this book — don’t get me wrong, she is an excellent storyteller in the podcast, but even moreso here. That said, there are moments that I was side-eyeing because things were a little too pat, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of htis gem!

The ending. Oh my the end was satisfying and not, but I completely understood why the book ended the way it did…. and why people are unhappy about it. But looking at Flowers’ background, it makes complete sense.

All Good People Here is about the secrets of small towns, about everything that happens behind closed doors that no one knows about.

19 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.