When actress and model Allison Langley leaves her former rockstar husband, Christopher, in the middle of the night, it’s all her Oak Hill neighbors can talk about. The gossip comes to an abrupt halt when five-year-old Billy Barnes goes missing on his walk home from kindergarten.
Billy’s mother, Rachel, blames herself for being at work and letting her only child walk alone. Cassidy, Billy’s teenage babysitter, was also late to arrive on the afternoon he disappeared and blames herself for his disappearance.
As the clock ticks down, police are unable to find any trace of Billy, forcing Rachel to ponder the enemies she’s made in their well-off suburb. Could it be one of her neighbors who stole her son? Would they abduct Billy to hurt her? How easy would it be to take a child while the parents or nannies are distracted?
When another child goes missing, the town is put under a microscope as the police try to get to the bottom of the disappearances. Will they be able to find the two children, or will it be too late? What secrets lie at the heart of this tragedy, and how far will one go to keep those dangerous secrets buried?
Thursday, June 13
For the past two months, we spoke of little other than the Langleys.
“Did you hear? She’s gone!”
“No! It can’t be true.”
“If they can’t make it work, none of us stands a chance!”
“Allison and Christopher Langley? Oh, it’s over. Totally.
Someone saw him jogging with the dog. Just the two of them.
That’s a first.”
“How long do you figure he’ll be alone?”
“Less than a minute. Look at him! I bet he won’t even have to set up an online dating profile.”
“How fast do you think he’ll decide to move back to the city? That house has to have, what, four bedrooms at least? And so close to the elementary school! Let me know the second he decides to sell! I know a couple who’d kill for that location.”
On and on it went for weeks as May slipped into June. Nearly everyone within a three-block radius of the
Langleys’ well-maintained Colonial whispered about them over hedges, in the parks and playgrounds, while walking their dogs and toddlers around the pond in the heart of our otherwise sleepy town.
About the Author
Liz Alterman lives in New Jersey with her husband, three sons, and two cats.
Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Parents, McSweeney’s, and other publications.
She spends most days microwaving the same cup of coffee and looking up synonyms.