Body of a Girl


In Memphis, where the heat clings heavy like a second skin, it has been a summer of murders. 

Olivia Dale’s job as a novice crime reporter is at once surreal–stepping in and out of strangers’ lives with her notebook–and all too real. As she looks down on the twisted body of a young woman who has been kidnapped and gruesomely killed, she wonders if she could have been that girl. After all, as she chases a lead story, she discovers that Allison Avery–so all-American, so like Olivia in age and looks–was just like her except wilder. Drawn deep into the shadows and secrets of Allison’s life, Olivia becomes caught up in exploring her own wild side and finds herself seduced by a perilous world where her life may be in danger. Hypnotic, compelling, and gorgeously written, Body of a Girl is a “must” summer read.


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Praise for Body of a Girl
 

“As Olivia plunges deeper into Allison's world, Leah Stewart--in a book that, like the life of Elvis, grows increasingly bizarre and fascinating--teases us with the notion that Olivia is just giving herself a dangerous self-guided tour of her own unexamined desires.” 
—Los Angeles Times


“The secret at its heart will astonish you.”
—A. Manette Ansay, author of Midnight Champagne


“This isn't John Grishan's Memphis; it's way more dangerous. Leah Stewart mates the breakneck pacing of Sue Grafton and the creepy depth of Laura Kasischke.”
—Stewart O'Nan, author of A Prayer for the Dying



“A compelling novel—a thoughtful thriller and page—turner about the rewards and perils of empathy in a culture dominated by sex, drugs, and violence.”
Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love


Body of a Girl is simply a good read, the kind of book you find yourself cutting things short to come home to.”
—The News & Observer

“Stewart has her narrator indiscriminately violate journalistic ethics as she first feigns sympathy to get good copy, then finds herself so sympathetic to her subject that she's almost willing to put herself in the exact position that led Allison Avery to a messy death. And here's where the author clobbers her readers and her heroine. Throughout the book, in direct, well-chosen words, Stewart has Dale step outside herself to ponder how her own murder would be covered by a reporter like herself.” 
—The A.V. Club


“Sleek . . . a searing psychological portrait of a woman who must become someone else before she can understand herself.”
—US Weekly


“With this taut, tense thriller Stewart debuts auspiciously.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


“[A] remarkable debut . . . the beginning of a special career of notable novels.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer


“A compelling read. . . . Stewart evokes the way we measure death by the number of words we afford it in newspapers and the danger of seeking humanity and truth in the sad, tormented lives of strangers.”
—Salon