I received an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick. Since this version is just a proof and not the final version, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general.
In I Killed Zoe Spanos, Anna arrives in the Hamptons for a summer nanny position for an affluent family. Soon, though, she learns of the startling resemblance she bears to a missing girl, Zoe. And the more she hears about Zoe’s disappearance, the more convinced Anna is that something sinister is going on here, and she is involved. When the police arrest Anna, though, local podcast host and aspiring investigative journalist Marina Green decides to discover the truth, wherever it takes her.
Anna is a fantastic protagonist, likeable but also highly unreliable. Her developing obsession with Zoe and this town drives the mystery, and her cloudy memories make for a compelling point of view. Marina, as well as other characters like Caden, Aster, Max, and Paisley, are excellent, with well-rounded personalities as well as secrets that contribute to an intriguing web of uncertainty.
The way the mystery and investigation develop is fascinating. The narrative jumps back and forth from June/July, before Anna’s confession, and August/September after she is arrested. These two timelines inform and influence each other for the reader, gradually revealing the bigger picture. Having two timelines can be complex and problematic in some cases, but Frick crafts the narrative with skill. I wasn’t confused at any point, though I was admittedly unable to solve the case.
And what a case! The complicated relationships of this setting, as well as the dissonance of Anna’s own memories, make for a haunting, excellent story. Frick has based this story on Daphne du Maurier’s novel Rebecca, and though there are some clear references and inspirations, she makes this tale truly her own. It’s innovative and clever, and the addition of the podcast to show the progress of the investigation is a brilliant touch to modernize the story.
In the end, I really enjoyed I Killed Zoe Spanos. The characters are fantastic, the mystery is brilliantly written, and the writing is overall wonderful. This book reads like an old-fashioned murder mystery, with Gothic-feeling settings and a layered tangle of secrets and lies, but with the added use of modern investigative tools and technology. If you like Rebecca, or just want a spooky and first-rate mystery, check this out!
Overall rating: 8.7/10
I Killed Zoe Spanos is available now!