I'm sitting on my couch, watching the local news. There's Chloe's parents, the mayor, the hangers on, all grouped round the pond for the ceremony. It's ten years since Chloe and Carl drowned, and they've finally chosen a memorial - a stupid summerhouse. The mayor has a spade decked out in pink and white ribbon, and he's started to dig.
You can tell from their faces that something has gone wrong. But I'm the one who knows straightaway that the mayor has found a body. And I know who it is.
This is the tale of three fourteen-year-old girls and a volatile combination of lies, jealousy and perversion that ends in tragedy. Except the tragedy is even darker and more tangled than their tight-knit community has been persuaded to believe.
Blackly funny and with a surreal edge to its portrait of a northern English town, Jenn Ashworth's gripping novel captures the intensity of girls' friendships and the dangers they face in a predatory adult world they think they can handle. And it shows just how far that world is willing to let sentiment get in the way of the truth.
Ashworth's novel is bleak and gritty, painting an uncompromising portrait of teenage life ... her prose is equally grim and visceral. In the best possible way this novel is an uncomfortable read. Lucy Scholes, Sunday Times Culture That most uncommon delight - a literary page-turner. Gary Cansell, Sunday Times Jenn Ashworth's haunting second novel... Cold Light is filled with bruises, bleeding, and psychological bludgeoning. A novel also about the power and pitfalls of narrative, it is told by the hand of a true storyteller. Independent A psychological thriller of the first order. The Age, Australia pitch-perfect...award-winning Jenn Ashworth leavens a bleak but pacey story with dry, wry humour, resulting in an extraordinarily perceptive and beautifully written novel Charlotte Heathcote, Sunday Express Remember teenage bitching and insecurity? This book will take you back there, except with more lies and gruesome murder. Scarily believable. Fabulous A wonderful tale, beautifully told. Bella a chilling, blackly funny novel with a surreal edge about the intensity of teenage friendship. Grazia Another cleverly skewed tale told from the self-conscious perspective of an outsider... arrestingly observant... Ashworth's second book confirms that the first was no one-off... her talent could take her a long way Alfred Hickling, Guardian A grimly atmospheric mystery Charlotte Heathcote, The Sunday Express