Mysterious, chilling, and told a breakneck pace, The Scamp will thrill readers of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone and Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State.
Rayelle Reed can’t escape in her small town, where everyone knows everything and not enough: All the guys she slept with, but not the ones she loved. The baby she had out of wedlock with the pastor’s son, and how the baby died, but not the grief and guilt that consume her. At a motel bar, Rayelle meets Couper Gale, a freelance detective on a mission to investigate a rash of missing girls, and she tags along as an excuse to cross the state line. But when Couper’s investigation leads them to the mystery surrounding Rayelle’s runaway cousin Khaki, she finds she is heading straight back into everything she was hoping to leave behind.
As fates become entwined, Rayelle must follow a haunted and twisted path—leading her toward a collision where loyalties will be betrayed, memories uncovered, and family bonds shattered. Unflinchingly dark and compelling, THE SCAMP confronts head-on the issues of family origins and the bonds between mothers, daughters, and sisters. It delves deep into the cycle of abuse and poverty, questioning, in the end, the value of any one life, child or adult.
In Pashley’s hands, the lost girls of rural and industrial America, trapped in the unforgiving systems of government assistance and single parenthood, are portrayed with depth and nuance. She exposes the ingrained poverty and atmosphere of disillusionment that damns them before they have a chance and she gives them a ray of hope for a better life ahead.