Where I got the book: won a free copy from the author's blog.
The Demise of the Soccer Moms is Cathryn Grant's debut novel. Amy, Jane, Kit and Rachel have been friends forever. Their kids have grown up together, and their lives revolve around soccer and suburbia. But the suburbs aren't as safe as they should be--there's a rapist and murderer on the loose. And then Charlotte shows up: spiky hair, no bra, Doc Martens and a very big camera.
This is a story that starts out feeling very mundane and then quickly turns dark. Amy's and Rachel's insecurities have formed a bond between them, but when Amy's fears of the twin threats of sex and violence begins to pervade their world, the reader is never allowed to recover a sense of normality. I felt as if the characters were all walking along the edge of an abyss, and yet all of them were instantly recognizable types of Suburban Woman, complete with their different insecurities and their ways of coping with the boredom of their lives. The neighborhood is in California, but it could easily have been my own; any affluent suburb in America, in fact.
I found it to be a compelling read, and stayed up late to finish it (always a good sign). Grant is an indie author, so there were some places where I detected technical weaknesses that the rigors of traditional publishing might have corrected (if she'd been lucky enough to get a good editor, which is not always the case). Still, they were comparatively minor and I have to give props to Grant for her professionalism and attention to detail. I have seen far worse products come out of traditional publishing houses.
Grant calls her style of writing Suburban Noir, and I would recommend it to all who enjoy a good psychological thriller made more menacing by its everyday setting. Grant avoids overblown descriptions of gore, leaving much to the reader's imagination, and the story's all the better for it. I'm giving it a "good" rating, and look forward to Grant's next book.