Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:
When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emily by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emily is found murdered hours later.
Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko weren’t able to accurately describe the stranger’s appearance to the police after the Emili’s body was discovered. Asako, Emily’s mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter’s murder.
Like Confessions, Kanae Minato’s award-winning, internationally bestselling debut, PENANCE is a dark and voice-driven tale of revenge and psychological trauma that will leave readers breathless.
I heard about this book via the Book Riot All the Books podcast. I’m on a big mystery/thriller kick with my reading this year, and I’ve become very interested in Japanese mystery/thriller and crime novels. After reading Penance, I found a number of others books to add to my TBR courtesy of fellow bookworms and their recommendations!
One thing I really liked about this book was the format. Each chapter followed a different girl who was present the day of the murder, told in her own words. It was so interesting to see what their lives were like in the years following the murder, and the impact of Emily’s mother’s words on each of them.
As for the actual murder, details are revealed throughout the book but the story is really more about the characters. It was so hard to put down once I started reading. Definitely recommended.