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Red Leaves


When beautiful, star basketball player Kristina Kim is found murdered in the snow, Spencer O'Malley, the young detective who had fallen in love with her, has to investigate the crime. What he finds is a life more mysterious than her death.


From Publishers Weekly

After her heralded but somewhat overwritten first novel, Tully, Simons has sharpened her craftsmanship to produce this suspenseful work about four friends at Dartmouth College whose close relationship is coming apart. The disintegration doesn't appear mortal, but it is. During a cold Thanksgiving weekend and its aftermath, Kristina, Jim, Conni and Albert study, play and occasionally sleep together, passionately addicted to each other's company. When Kristina's nude and frozen body is found in a snowbank, having been concealed there for some days, young small-town detective Spencer O'Malley investigates her death. He is drawn into the group's games and lies just as he was drawn to Kristina's compelling liveliness when he met her the day before she was killed. Why did her best friends fail to report her missing? Their answers to his fervent questions reveal a network of hidden secrets and jealousies that have long existed among them. But the hardly surprising solution to the crime doesn't appear until three years later, when the full significance of the title becomes clear. The narrative has striking similarities to the events in Donna Tartt's The Secret History, but Simons is not as fluent a writer, nor does the plot carry the philosophical resonance of Tartt's more sophisticated work. Yet Simons handles her characters and setting (both the New Hampshire campus and the moneyed neighborhoods of Greenwich, Conn.) with a certain skill, creating mystery from the ordinary, protected lives of these Ivy League kids, slowly peeling away their deceptions to reveal denial, cowardice and chilling indifference. In doing so, she tells an often engrossing story.
BOMC selection; audio rights to Brilliance Audio; author tour.

From Library Journal
At 21, Kristina Kim is a senior at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. She is beautiful, pleasant, and the star player on the women's basketball team. Surrounded by her close friends Jim Shaw, Conni Tobias, and Albert Maplethorpe, Kristina has her whole life before her. But a week after Thanksgiving her body is found frozen in the deep snow near her dormitory. Spencer Patrick O'Malley, the detective in charge, coincidentally met Kristina shortly before her death and even had a date with her the week after the holiday. As Spencer conducts his investigation, he uncovers many peculiarities; for example, why did none of her trusted friends report Kristina missing in the nine days previous to the discovery of her body? When Spencer learns that Kristina died leaving $9 million to her friends, he digs deeper and finds a frightful secret. Simons's (Tully, LJ 4/15/94) characterizations are excellent, and she quickly draws the reader deeply into the nuances of the story. Highly recommended for fiction collections.
Maria A. Perez-Stable, Western Michigan Univ. Libs., Kalamazoo



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Tags: Paullina Simons, Paullina, Simons, thriller, investigate, fallen, finds, mysterious, crime, crime