Before She Was Helen
Her life didn't turn out the way she expected--so she made herself a new one
When Clemmie goes next door to check on her difficult and unlikeable neighbor Dom, he isn't there. But something else is. Something stunning, beautiful and inexplicable. Clemmie photographs the wondrous object on her cell phone and makes the irrevocable error of forwarding it. As the picture swirls over the internet, Clemmie tries desperately to keep a grip on her own personal network of secrets. Can fifty years of careful hiding under names not her own be ruined by one careless picture?
And although what Clemmie finds is a work of art, what the police find is a body. . . in a place where Clemmie wasn't supposed to be, and where she left her fingerprints. Suddenly, the bland, quiet life Clemmie has built for herself in her sleepy South Carolina retirement community comes crashing down as her dark past surges into the present.
From international bestselling author of The Face on the Milk Carton Caroline B. Cooney comes Before She Was Helen, an absorbing mystery that brings decades-old secrets to life and explores what happens when the lie you've been living falls apart and you're forced to confront the truth.
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"Caroline B. Cooney has a genius for skewering culture, crime, and society. As once she demonstrated to the world a pressing level of danger we needed to understand, now she whips millennial angst, recreational drug use, and one feisty, heroic retiree into a thrilling, toxic brew that will leave readers cheering by the end. Retirement villages never seemed so mysterious and exciting! Under Cooney's deft hand, hidden dangers emerge, and the ties that bind us, young and old, just may save us in the end." - Jenny Milchman, USA Today bestselling author of Cover of Snow and Wicked River
""As Before She Was Helen opens, readers are drawn into what appears to be a light, retirement-community caper. But author Caroline B. Cooney quickly flips expectations upside-down in this deceptively dark mystery. Between old crimes and fresh murders, septuagenarian protagonist Clemmie faces an unspeakable fear that will keep readers hooked in this twisty whodunit." " - Julie Hyzy, New York Times bestselling author
"Caroline B. Cooney is a master of taking a small, common moment-seeing a face on a milk carton, posting a harmless photo-and turning that moment into a thrilling story. In this mystery, Cooney gives us Clemmie-a senior citizen living a long deception, who fights back with intelligence and courage against dangerous foes, both present and past. Before She Was Helen is an emotionally rich page-turner about the lives we want-and the lives we make" - Jeff Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Never Ask Me
"[A] solid mystery.
" - Publishers Weekly