What kind of life can you expect when you’re a girl named after Jimmy Hoffa, your mother is an iconic former movie star and your father is running for congress? Elizabeth Kelly draws this girl in all her adolescent confliction, then throws her into the center of a murder mystery where she is the only eyewitness.
Chat with Elizabeth Kelly about her new novel, The Last Summer of the Camperdowns, in #litchat from 4-5 p.m. on Friday, June 28, 2013. Catch the full conversation from our dedicated #litchat chatroom.
It’s the summer of 1972, the Vietnam War is raging, Watergate embroils the nation with political scandal and President Richard Nixon is running for reelection. Riddle, whom her father insists on calling Jimmy, idolizes her idealistic father. A self-described loner, 12-year-old Riddle pales in comparison to her beautiful mother, an ice queen with a wit sharp enough to crack a glacier. The only thing they appear to have in common is their love of horses. It’s this love of horses that sets Kelly’s novel galloping toward a finish both expected and surprising. While searching for a missing dog, Riddle happens upon a scene of violence in a horse barn and is threatened by the perpetrator, a horse trainer named Gula Nightjar. She tells no one what she saw and heard, yet the scene haunts her imagination. When the wealthy Cape Cod neighborhood is alerted to a local boy gone missing, Riddle wants to doubt what she saw, while still knowing and fearing the worst. Eventually Riddle is the one who happens upon the boy’s dead body hidden in the woods. By the time she finally accepts the reality of what she saw in the barn, she’s completely cowed by the dark, creepy horse trainer. As Riddle keeps the secret of what happened in the barn, other family secrets emerge that entwine the entire close-knit neighborhood for a final showdown in The Last Summer of the Camperdowns. Follow Elizabeth Kelly on Twitter: @ElizabethKelly8.