After a long New Year’s Eve night at Blue Bell Bar in Bellair, Virginia, bartender Sophie Braam is trying to close up and go home when Mark Dixon demands to be let back in to use the bathroom and asks for a ride home. An ongoing thorn in her side, Dixon is a friend of the owner and often demands free drinks. This night he stole a glass of wine from a bottle that Sophie had been saving for herself, but she finally had enough when he tried to force himself on her while she was driving him home. Sophie killed him.
When his body is found a few days later, Officer Nora Martin, who is new to the force, is part of the team looking for the killer. During the investigation, Sophie and Nora become friends, bonding over their shared frustrations at the treatment they have both endured from men even while the body count rises.
Sophie is a fully realized character who is a sociopath heading down the road to insanity, which is clear during her murderous rampages. She shares her first-person thoughts in chapters which alternate with chapters from Nora’s point-of-view. Nora is also a well developed character who has her own struggles with being a woman with the police department, but she is an intelligent, sane woman dealing with these issues.
You Know Her is an excellent well-written debut novel that merges an investigative procedural with a disturbing, vengeful Southern Gothic thriller. Anyone who has ever worked with the public will sympathize with Sophie when she is rightfully ranting about the comments male customers make or the jabs Nora is putting up with. Most people tolerate it, as Nora does, but will relate on some level to Sophie’s rage. The murderous actions are over the top at times, which some readers might find too disturbing. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of MCD via NetGalley.