Penance

This is a well-crafted murder mystery written by Kanae Minato. A middle school girl is plucked out of a circle of friends and becomes the victim of a deadly sexual assault. The surviving schoolgirls blame themselves for losing track of their new posh friend. Their perceived failure, opens the door to their guilt getting amped-up by the victim’s mother, who demands results from the girls in catching the perp or a penance from each of them for allowing the murder to transpire.

As the girls grow up, they continually imagine their dead friend’s tiger mom judging them, until each girl finally snaps. Hearing of those snaps, the condemning momacita has to confront her complicity in the original crime and lift the curse before more sin adheres to her own conscience.

Whilst it ebbs and wanes, the impact of original sin, the transfer of guilt and the power of unintended consequences make this a good novel. The common paperback is 227-pages and worth reading.

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